The financial data publisher helmed-again by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has named the 50 most influential people in a bunch of categories, including fund managers, policy-makers and thinkers. Top of the list of those "who move markets" is the irascible, legendary, Leon Cooperman, former head of the CFA Association of New York, as well as a legendary investor of the old school persuasion.
Cooperman's life story is an inspiring one. Born in the South Bronx in 1943 he was raised by Polish Jewish émigrés. The son of a plumber he was the first in his family to earn a college degree before going on to climb to the top of Wall Street. An early stint at Xerox in the '60s was followed by an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. Goldman Sachs scooped him up the day after graduation. He worked at GS for twenty years, moving as close to the "center" as one can to distributed modern capital markets. Partner-in-charge of the Investment Research Department of GS, Cooperman also served as co-chairman of the Investment Policy Committee and Chairman of the Stock Selection Committee at GS. No small gigs, those. In 1989 he was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and Chief Investment Officer of the equity product line. In 1991 Cooperman retired and set up Omega Advisors, Inc., a New York based investment advisory firm that now manages many billions. He is said to get up a bit after 5:00 am, is in the office and at his Bloomberg terminal until 11:00 pm. He is also a designated Chartered Financial Analyst and a senior member and past President of the New York Society of Security Analysts. Once described as having a "maniacal focus on picking undervalued companies" he combined that penchant with the "hard work and frugality of someone who came from little” has, as a result, a nearly “unparalleled track record of investment returns far longer than most people have worked on Wall Street." Read more here
It was, of course, Cooperman who infamously penned a letter to Obama complaining about the White House's class war on the rich. When you are the son of a plumber and go on to make a billion dollars, you can do that. Read more here.