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20 Things You Didn't Know About Leon Cooperman

Leon Cooperman

Leon Cooperman is an American investor and billionaire who is known for his philanthropy and for being one of the top hedge fund managers in the world. He's built a fortune through his entrepreneurship and has become one of the most highly respected businessmen in American today. Here are 20 things that you didn't know about this impressive hedge fund manager.

1. His Birthday

Leon, also known as "Lee" was born in 1943. This makes him 76 years old as of April of 2019. he was raised in the South Bronx portion of New York City. His mother and father immigrated to the United States from Poland, and he was raised in a Jewish family.

2. He was the first to earn a college degree in his family

Lee Cooperman graduated from high school and continued with his education. Nobody in his immediate family had ever earned a college degree. He enrolled in classes at Hunter College, where he was also a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. He completed his requirements and earned his bachelor's degree from Hunter College. This was a great achievement for Cooperman, but he was just getting started. He would later return to college to pursue his post-graduate degree. He was accepted into the prestigious Columbia Business School where he earned his MBA in 1967.

3. His first job out of school was at Xerox

After Leon completed his undergraduate degree at Hunter College, he secured a job at the Xerox corporation as a quality control engineer. This was a good position for kicking off his new career after college. This was just a stepping stone for him, however. His future would not be in this industry. He's a versatile entrepreneur who would go on to gain a bit more experience before embarking on his true calling in the financial sector.

4. Leon worked for Goldman Sachs

Immediately after graduating from Columbia Business School with his MBA degree, Leon Cooperman was hired by Goldman Sachs. He worked for the firm in the Investment Research Department. He held high leadership positions with Goldman Sachs co-chairing the Investment Policy Committee and partner in charge, as well as chairman of the Stock Selection Committee, and in 1989, he was appointed as CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He also managed the GS Capital Growth Fund and was CIF of the equity product line.

5. Cooperman made a reputation for himself at Goldman Sachs

While it's obvious that he was one of the top leaders in the firm, while Leon Cooperman was with Goldman Sachs, he also established a hearty and solid reputation in the business while he was there. During his tenure, the Institutional Investor All America Research Team survey voted Cooperman the "number one portfolio strategist" for nine consecutive years. This was quite an honor but it was also recognition that was well-deserved because of his significant contributions.

6. He wrote a stern open letter to the President

When Barack Obama was in office, Leon Cooperman wrote an open letter to him which gained a great deal of attention. The letter was written in November of 2011. It was aimed at Obama, charging him with engaging in class warfare. There were other things mentioned in the letter, but this was the most scathing and The Huffington Post's Joseph Palmero described the letter as "a rant bemoaning the mistreatment of billionaires by the president and his "minions." quoting Cooperman.

7. Cooperman was accused of insider trading

In the Fall of 2016, Leon Cooperman and Omega Advisors were charged with the inside trading of Atlas Pipeline Partners. This was a serious charge which Cooperman denied. The charges were made by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Cooperman had been retired since 1991. The allegations stated that the infractions occurred in July of 2010 and it had taken 6 years for them to act on the information.

8. Leon Cooperman is concerned about the political climate

Cooperman made a joke about Elizabeth Warren, suggesting that if she's the next President, then the stock market won't open. He made it clear that this was an attempt at humor but he followed the statement up with a clarification. He believes that left policies could be "harmful for the stock market going forward." He believes that teh policies of the Democratic Party are leaning to the left and this could result in damage to the national economy as well as for the stock market. He further predicted that if Warren is elected President the result will be a bear market and within a year it could go down by 25%.

9. Leon Cooperman speaks his mind

Part of the reason why Leon Cooperman has so many admirers is that he speaks his mind on the matters that he considers to be important. This includes the financial sector and he talks publicly about politicians and their views very openly. He stated that when the Feds cut the rates they are "screwing the savers." While this is a very blunt way to put it, he can't be faulted for his candor. Mr. Cooperman is known for being direct and to the point.

10. Cooperman is a multibillionaire

We learned that Mr. Leon Cooperman is a billionaire a few times over. His estimated net worth as of October of 2019 is $3.2 billion. He made the bulk of his fortune through the management of hedge funds. Cooperman is the founder of Omega Advisors. It's a hedge fund he established in 1991 and the firm as a reputation for strong performance. Mr. Cooperman shut the fund down at the close of 2018.

11. Mr. Cooperman's insider trading charges cost him millions

There was a big deal made about the SEC insider trading allegations. There were conflicting reports from a variety of new media about Leon's denial. Some said that he denied the charges while others claim that he neither denied nor admitted being guilty of the accusations. The information that surfaced about the case revealed that the attorney contended that Mr. Cooperman's actions were not illegal and that nobody had ever been found guilty of insider trading for the same type of activities that Leon had engaged in. In the end, Cooperman settled with the SEC with a payment of $4.9 million.

12. His father was a plumber

Leon Cooperman did not come from a wealthy family. He was raised in the Bronx sector of New York City, and he attended public schools. His father worked as a plumber in the city and they were very much a part of the working class in society. His family was not wealthy, but Leon did manage to finish his bachelor's degree at Hunter College, then at Columbia University for his MBA.

13. Leon Cooperman has made a few Forbes lists

Cooperman is listed on three of the very prestigious Forbes lists. He is number 268 on the Forbes 400 list for 2019. He also placed at number 745 for the Billionaires of 2019 list, suggesting that he is the 745th richest man in the world today. He also made it to a third Forbes list placing number 34 for the HIghest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers 2018. He didn't make the list for 2019 because he shut down the Omega hedge fund at the end of 2018, or he probably would have been on the current list as well. These are just a few of the most recent mentions of his name, but through the years, it's been common to see Leon Cooperman's name appear on a variety of recognitions.

14. He ranks high on being a self-made billionaire

There are a lot of billionaires in the world today and some made their fortunes through their own hard work, totally unassisted by others, some had a little help along the way, while others were born into their fortunes through heredity and inheritance. Mr. Cooperman is credited with being a nine out of ten on the self-made scale. This is a remarkably high score for anyone and it shows that for the most part, he has done it on his own and through his own entrepreneurial skills and talents. You can literally say that Leon Cooperman is a self-made man.

15. He hasn't forgotten the institutions that helped him get a start

Leon Cooperman has a fondness in his heart for the institutions of higher education that helped him to gain the knowledge he needed to become successful in the business world. He is a philanthropist who has given back to the two schools that helped him to lay a solid foundation of education that gave him a leg up in business. He even set up a college scholars fund and he donates to Columbia University's business school and to Hunter College.

16. His net worth was in the hole when he joined Goldman Sachs

The now multi-billionaire Lee Cooperman started out his career at Goldman Sachs with his personal net worth in the negative digits. He first went to work for the company in 1967. He had already completed his bachelor's first, and then his MBA at Columbia, and neither educational venture was cheap. He didn't have a lot of money in the bank and he was in debt, with a negative net worth, but all of this was about to change. Lee had secured a great job with a high earning potential and he lived up to that potential and beyond.

17. He retired in 2018

Mr. Cooperman worked until he was 75 years of age and he's barely been retired from running Omega Capital Investors, L.P. for a year. Just before he closed the hedge fund down, he saw what many others did in the last part of the year, something that wasn't the positive note that he'd hoped to end upon. Previously strong gains were beginning to erode away and his fund Omega Overseas Partners finished out the year down a little under one percent with Omega Capital Investors losing approximately five percent for a bittersweet ending to a beautiful career.

18. Leon Cooperman is a legend in investment circles

Leon Cooperman's name means something to most of the Wall Street crowd. There are few who work until they reach the age of 75 years old. In addition, few who have made the fortune he has in hedge fund management. He has over fifty years of experience on Wall Street and he has seen a lot of businesses and executives come and go. He's one of the few who have enjoyed such longevity in the workplace.

19. He was the first person in his family to be born in America

Leon was also the very first person in his entire family to be born in the United States of America. He is a first-generation American by birth, although his family did immigrate to this country from Poland. It seems that Mr. Cooperman has been the first in a few different things. He was also the first in his family to earn a college degree, and the first to become a billionaire.

20. Leon Cooperman is an inspiration for those pursuing the American dream

When Leon Cooperman's parents left Poland to immigrate to America it was to have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and for their family. Leon is a man who has shown the world that it is still possible to attain what is referred to as the elusive American dream. There are many who come to this country with dreams and hopes and they turn these into a reality. At the age of 76, he is a successful American whose parents had the foresight to go where their children would have the opportunity to create their own dreams and fulfill them and that is precisely what Mr. Cooperman has done. He stands as an inspiration to us all.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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