For most hedge fund managers, the bull market of the past six years has been a downer. Investors increasingly complained they could make more with an index fund than they could betting on the Masters of the Universe.

This year, for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, hedge funds are winning. Even though ETF assets in the U.S. have surpassed those of hedge funds, there are managers including John Burbank, David Tepper and John Paulson, returning at least triple the return of U.S. stocks and beating bonds by more than 10 times.

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