Some 269 Americas firms manage $1.46 trillion.
Inaugural Absolute Return ranking tracks lucrative hunt for startups.
Some 71 new Americas hedge funds managed $24.9 billion by yearend, the richest total since 2007.
Hedge fund picks from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Creek, PineBridge, SkyBridge, Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan and others.
A diverse group of hedge funds are named Absolute Return's 2012 Funds to Watch.