When it comes to the world of investments, just three words come to mind: overwhelming, risky, and yet lucrative. Investing is by no means an easy job as there are countless considerations and infinite risks to take care of. But thankfully, from Benjamin Graham to modern-day pundit Dave Ramsey all have shared their priceless expertise on successful investments, which inspired generations of young investors and continue to do so.
Below is the list of most successful investors who made wealth and fame with their cleaver, deep thinking.
Table of Contents
19 & 18. Peter Lynch and John C. Bogle
These two gentlemen do not need any kind of introduction. Peter Lynch came into the scene in 1977, when he became head of the Fidelity Magellan. During his time, the fund’s assets grew from just $20 million to $14 billion. More importantly, Magellan funds reportedly beat the S&P 500 Index benchmark for 11 years.
Since its foundation in 1946, the Fidelity Investment has become a cornerstone of financial services companies around the world. As of August 2016, Fidelity Investment’s total AUM stands at the U.S. $2.1 Trillion.
Banking veteran John C. Bogle learned his investment and management skills by working for Wellington Management Company from 1951-1974. He then successfully founded one of the biggest investment firms in the world, the Vanguard Group, that now manages approximately U.S. $5.6 trillion in assets.
Bogle is also credited for pioneering the no-load mutual fund, a mutual fund in which shares are sold without a commission or sales charge. Bogle retired from Vanguard as chairman in 1999 and was succeeded by John J. Brennan.
17. Chris Sacca
Image source: business insider
Net Worth: US $1.2 Billion
Christopher Sacca, a lawyer turned investor, became a billionaire in 2007 after a series of highly successful angel investments. The “Venture Cowboy” invested in the early stages of I.T. giants like Twitter, Instagram, Twilio. His lowercase Capital also owns non-tech related companies like Blue Bottle Coffee and high-end restaurant Truckee. Since 2015, Sacca has made a few appearances in popular business reality show Shark Tank.
16. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
Net Worth: US$ 2.5 Billion
The “pin-up boy of the current bull run” Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is the 53rd richest person in India, according to Forbes. He took his first big step towards greater success between 1986 and 1989 when he heavily invested in Tata Power, and he made a wholesale profit of two million (Indian Rupees).
His next successful bet was on iron mining company SesaGoa, where he made a hefty profit of nearly half a million. He currently serves as the board of directors of various Indian companies and is the chairman of Aptech Limited, an education company.
15. Yuri Milner
Image source: MoneysEdge
Net Worth: US$ 3.5 Billion
Yuri Milner started his business career by grey marketing DOS computers in his home country, the Soviet Union. After working in the World Bank for a brief period of time, he invested in NetBridge, an internet company that would later become Mail.ru Group. The company was valued over $5.6 billion after its IPO on the London Stock Exchange.
Milner then invested in social media giants Facebook and Twitter, through his popular venture fund, DST Global. He later sold those stakes but invested in new startups like Spotify and Airbnb. He also went big on Chinese tech companies, including online retailers Alibaba and JD.com.
14. Guo Guangchang
Net Worth: US$ 6.3 Billion
Guo Guangchang is the Chinese billionaire who is frequently dubbed as China’s Warren Buffett. According to the Hurun Report in 2013 China Rich List, he was the 41st richest person in China. And in 2015, he was listed as the 34th richest person in China by Forbes, with a net worth of $7.3 billion.
His Shanghai-headquartered investment firm, Fosun International, holds majority stakes in Nanjing Iron and Steel and Shanghai Forte Land, one of the largest real estate developers in Shanghai, China. Recently, Fosun International has acquired Club Med and increased its stake in Cirque du Soleil to 20%.
13. Edward Johnson III
Net Worth: US$ 7.7 Billion
Started as a research analyst at his father’s owned investment company (Fidelity Investments) in 1957, Edward Crosby Johnson III is now a well known and respected figure in the world of the stock market. After a successful venture as a research analyst, he soon became the portfolio manager for the Fidelity Trend Funds in 1960 and then ran the famous Fidelity Magellan Funds for more than a decade from 1963-1977.
It was Edward Johnson who brought the revolutionary discount brokerage into practice. He also initiated the practice of permitting check writing on money marketing funds. In 1972, he became president of the company and was later elected Chairmen and CEO in 1977.
12. Ronald Perelman
Image source: New York Times
Net Worth: US$ 8.3 Billion
Through his investment company MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated, Ron Perelman, who earned a reputation as one of the fiercest corporate raiders of the 1980s, invested in a wide range of companies that encapsulate dairy products, cosmetics, automobiles, entertainment, security, gaming, apparels, banks, and publishing sector. He now owns a 70% stake in AM General, owner of the popular Military HMMWV or Humvee, whose value stands at $1 Billion.
11. August von Finck, Jr.
Net Worth: US$ 8.6 Billion
August von Finck is a Germany born billionaire residing in Switzerland. Though a person of rich background, Mr. Finck made fame with his own peerless investment practices. He acquired larger shares of Merck, Finck & Co. Munich Re and Allianz from his father, which were co-founded by his grandfather Wilhelm von Finck during the 1870s.
In the 1990s, he executed a large scale selling of Allianz shares as well as Merck, Finck & Co to British multinational financial company Barclays bank. He has invested in a diversified portfolio that includes major real estate and industrial companies.
His 15% stake in Switzerland’s Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS), the world’s leading testing and certification organization, alone is worth over $2 billion.
10. Suleyman Kerimov
Net Worth: US$ 8.9 Billion
Suleyman Kerimov is a Russian born businessman, investor, and a successful politician. To all the young investors, Kerimov’s success story is inspirational. He started his journey as an economist at the Eltav electrical plant in the city of Makhachkala, Dagestan.
His first major investment occurred in the late 1990s when he became a 50% stakeholder in Vnukovo Airlines (later bought by S7 Airlines) and owned Fedprombank. He then made significant investments in the oil trading company Nafta Moskva by buying its 55% of shares, and within a couple of years, he became the sole owner of the company.
By 2008, Kerimov managed to secure a 5% stake in one of the biggest oil and gas companies in Russia and eastern Europe, ‘Gazprom’, and 6% shares in Sberbank, a Russian banking and financial services company headquartered in Moscow.
Read: 10 Extremely Successful Companies Started in Garage
In 2007, prior to the economic crisis, he invested heavily in financial powerhouses like Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Deutsche bank. In subsequent years, he became a 38.3% stake owner of the Russian construction giant PIK group through his Nafta Moskva and 53% owner of Uralkali.
Other notable investments: FC Anzhi Makhachkala, JSC Polymetel, Polyus Gold.
9. Mikhail Prokhorov
Image credit: Forbes
Net Worth: US$ 9.2 Billion
The prominent Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov made most of his wealth by becoming the country’s leading industrialist, owning major stakes in multinational corporations, mostly in metals and mining sectors. One of the companies he heavily invested in was Norilsk Nickel, which eventually became one of the largest producers of nickel and palladium in the world under his leadership.
In 2007, he decided to part ways with his long term business partner Vladimir Potanin with whom he founded the private investment company Interros in the 1990s. Following his decision to leave Interros, he launched his own investment company, the ONEXIM Group, with assets valued at the U.S. $17 billion at that time. ONEXIM Group owns more than 80% stake in NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
Other Notable Investments: Renaissance Capital, Optogan.
8. Harold Simmons
Image source: HuffingtonPost
Net Worth: US$ 10 Billion
Late Harold Simmons was an American businessman and billionaire whose marketing expertise helped him to conceptualize leveraged buyout (LBO), which he successfully used to acquire various corporations. He first started as a bank examiner and bought a drugstore with just $5,000 cash and a $95,000 loan amount. A decade later, he sold his business to Eckerd Corporation for $50 million in 1973.
This kick-started his career as an investor, and soon he conducted his first unsuccessful takeover attempt on the Lockheed Corporation after acquiring almost 20 percent of its stock. Harold Simmons died in 2013 and now remains at number 40th on the Forbes list of wealthiest people.
Notable investments: Contran Corporation, Valhi Inc.
7. Philip Anschutz
Net Worth: US$ 11.5 Billion
Philip Anschutz is a highly followed figure among the American sports fans as he owns major stakes in Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings. He is also a co-founder of Major League Soccer, as well as the owner of multiple teams. Apart from sports, he also has a keen interest in railroad and petroleum businesses.
The Colorado-based billionaire started with his dad’s small oil business, which nearly collapsed in 1961. A decade later, he bought 9 million acres (36,000 km²) of land along the Utah-Wyoming border.
In 1984, he entered the railroad business by purchasing Rio Grande Industries (RGI) and soon became the chairman of Union Pacific after the merger of Rio Grande’s Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Corporation in 1996.
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is one of the primary sports and music entertainment presenters in the United States. The AEG owns various arenas, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, StubHub Center in Carson, California and currently possess the O2 entertainment venue in South East London, England.
6. David Tepper
Image credit: CNBC
Net Worth: US$ 11.6 Billion
David Tepper is among the few hedge fund managers who have delivered strong performance returns in the years since the worldwide financial crisis. In 1992, after leaving Goldman Sachs, he started his own hedge fund, Appaloosa Management. In 2001, he generated a 61% return alone by focusing on distressed companies. He continued making significant gains every year by “investing in the diciest of companies,” such as MCI and Mirant.
In 2009, Tepper’s hedge-fund earned about $7 billion by buying distressed stocks (including Bank of America common stock at $3 per share) and then profiting from the recovery of those stocks almost a year later.
5. Alisher Usmanov
Net Worth: US$ 12.1 Billion
Alisher Burkhanovich Usmanov is an Uzbek-born Russian business magnate. In 2014, he became the richest person in Russia, with the total reported wealth of $14.4 billion. Like his fellow billionaire countrymen and a close friend Roman Abramovich, Usmanov also has a keen interest in metal and mining operations, although his exploits are far-reaching.
Among his vast holdings is the Russian industrial conglomerate, Metalloinvest, which owns a wide range of metal and mining businesses. He was also one of the early investors of I.T. giant Facebook, but he sold his shares in 2013. Usmanov then invested in China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba through Yuri Miller’s global fund in 2011.
He is a co‑owner of Russia’s second-largest mobile telephone operator, MegaFon, and co-owns the Mail.ru group, the largest Internet company in the Russian-speaking world.
4. Carl Icahn
Net Worth: US$ 17.5 Billion
Carl Icahn began his vigorous investment career on Wall Street as a stockbroker in 1961. Almost seven years later, he formed the Icahn & Co. securities firm. He has a majority or controlling positions in various corporations, including RJR Nabisco, Texaco, Phillips Petroleum, Western Union, Gulf & Western, E-II (Culligan and Samsonite), American Can, USX, Marvel Comics, Revlon, Imclone, Fairmont Hotels, Blockbuster, and Kerr-McGee.
Gradually, Icahn developed a reputation of a ruthless “corporate raider”, especially after his hostile takeover of TWA (defunct) in 1985. Recent revaluation of his investment fund is headed toward its third straight year of losses after sliding 18% in the first half of 2016. But, he has been buying more shares of Herbalife following its Federal Trade Commission settlement and continues to raise his stake on auto suppliers like Federal-Mogul.
3. Stephen Schwarzman
Photo credit: Standfordedu
Net Worth: US$ 18.5 Billion
Stephen Schwarzman rose through the ranks at investment bank Lehman Brothers, where he became the managing director at the age of 31. Then in 1985, Schwarzman and his friend and fellow billionaire Peter Peterson started the Blackstone Group, originally focused on mergers and acquisitions.
The business later expanded into leveraged buyouts, and now it manages over $470 billion in assets and trades. In 2014 and again in 2016, he was named in Bloomberg’s 50 most influential people of the year.
2. George Soros
Net Worth: US$ 24.9 Billion
George Soros is a Hungarian born American business magnate and a prominent philanthropist. Born in Nazi-occupied Hungary, Soros immigrated to England in 1947 and became a student at the London School of Economics. He also worked as a railway porter and a waiter before starting his career in finance at a merchant bank named Singer & Friedlander in London.
Prior to the Soros Fund Management, he was employed at New York City-based F.M Mayer, Wertheim and Co and Arnold and S. Bleichroeder, where he worked as Vice President. The Soros Fund manages the Quantum Group of Funds or Quantum Fund.
In September 2016, Soros announced that his foundation would invest $500 million in companies founded by refugees and migrants, especially in Europe.
1. Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet with Former U.S. President Barack Obama
Net Worth: US$ 64.3 Billion
The most successful investor in the world absolutely needs no introduction. The oracle of Omaha or the Wizard of Omaha is noted follower of value investing and for his humble personality and personal frugality despite his immense wealth.
At just the age of 20, he started taking night classes on ‘Investment Principles’ at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. At that time, he purchased a Sinclair Texaco gas station as a side investment. In 1957, with his personal savings of over $174,000, he bought a five-bedroom stucco house for $31,000, where he still lives.
In 1962, Buffett became a millionaire because of extensive profits from his partnerships. He then invested and later took control of the textile manufacturing firm, Berkshire Hathaway. In an interview, he claimed that the decision to buy the fading textile company was a billion-dollar blunder.
Then he diverted his attention towards the insurance sector but kept the name, Berkshire Hathaway. In 1988, Buffet started buying shares of The Coca-Cola company and eventually ended up owning 7% of stake for nearly $1.02 billion. Berkshire also has stakes in American Express, Apple, IBM, Geico, Dairy Queen and Fruit of the Loom.