Most Famous Investors (and why they are famous)

most famous investorsIf you work on Wall Street, you might just think you’re a rock star, but the truth is that hundreds of thousands of people work in finance, and only a few become household names.

Here are some of the most famous investors who rocked the market with their investing savvy:

Peter Lynch

Peter Lynch has a record to envy. After working in research at Fidelity, he later ran the Fidelity Magellan Fund, snapping up growth stocks from 1977 to 1990 and destroying the benchmark. The Magellan fund grew from a mere $20 million to $14 billion by the time Lynch stepped down. Investors who stuck with him enjoyed average annual returns of 29% per year for the length of his career.

Peter Lynch is most famous for his attention to detail and his desire to make the best possible investment decisions. He’s known as one of the hardest working analysts and portfolio managers, hopping on more than 300 flights per year to do on the ground due diligence of the company’s he invested in. He also has several best selling books on investing; Beating the Street is one of the best selling investing books in history. Peter Lynch is known for buying fast-growing stocks in slow-growing industries.

George Soros

Soros is a legendary investor who ran one of the best hedge funds of all time, the Quantum fund. He achieved rockstar status after one bet in 1992 against the Bank of England. In one day, Soros made more than $1 billion for himself and his investors by shorting the English Pound, earning him the reputation for “breaking the Bank of England.”

George Soros still runs his own fund for friends and family. He’s known for participating and forcing currency crises that made him and his investors filthy rich. Very active in politics and philanthropy, you’re just as likely to see his name in the opinion section of a local paper as you are to see it in the finance section.

Warren Buffett

It doesn’t look like anyone will ever top Warren Buffett’s ability to compound money for decades on end. Buffett is undoubtedly the best known investor thanks to his incredible wealth and track record as a portfolio manager and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett is best known for his unwavering style and attention to valuation. While he decries the idea of market timing for individual investors, Buffett had incredibly timing shutting down his investment partnerships right before a sideways market in the 1970s, and calling internet stocks a bubble in the 2000s. While others were chasing dot com stocks, Buffett was looking at companies as simple as Wrigley’s.

One quote truly sums up Buffett’s portfolio, “When I look at the Internet, I try to figure out how an industry or a company can be hurt or changed by it, and then I avoid it. Take Wrigley’s. I don’t think the Internet is going to change the way people chew gum.”

Carl Icahn

Few investors are as outspoken as Carl Icahn. He launched his own funds and partnerships that would lead him to take control positions in major companies. Icahn is best known for saying what he wants, doing what he wants, and truly not caring what the world make think about him.

Icahn is the very definition of a “corporate raider,” someone who purchases a large block of stock and uses his voting power to change the way the company operates. As easy as it is to dislike him for his bluntness and carefree attitude, he’s doing something right, having generated double digit returns for investors for decades.

David Einhorn

David Einhorn became famous for short-selling – selling a company’s stock and hoping to buy it back at a cheaper price.

Einhorn is best known for his first big call, a short position on Allied Capital, a business that would later go bankrupt. He claimed the company was engaging in illegal business practices and significantly overstating the value of the company’s assets. In 2007, Einhorn also called the top of the real estate bubble, laying out a short thesis on Lehman Brother based on the idea that it had significant exposure to housing prices.

What makes Einhorn famous is his uncanny ability to crush a company’s stock. He famously crushed Green Moutain Coffee Roasters in 2012, all because he took to a conference call to ask about peculiarities in the company’s financial accounting.

There’s something to learn from every extraordinary investors. While only a few people ever make it to the top, following these investors and investigating their every move is an easy way to get a free education on how the markets work.

3 Responses to Most Famous Investors (and why they are famous)

  1. The Hall of Fame! Thanks for the list. Will we see JT on that list some day? :)

  2. Nice list! It’s always interesting to read or listen to the stories of famous investors, their failures and success, the good and the bad parts of their experiences, and the advice they give to other investors, because it will give us a better idea of where to invest our money.

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