Leon Cooperman

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Leon Cooperman personal Photo

Photo By Thanh Giang20101 / CC BY 2.0

Leon Cooperman Macro and Stock Views

  • Bullish US Equities in 2015
  • Overall, falling oil prices are good for global GDP growth.
  • Bond yields are too low, can’t be a bull

as of January 2015 / These Views Are Taken From Public Sources and Are Edited by OctaFinance Staf

Also known as “Lee” Cooperman, Leon Cooperman is a highly successful American businessman, experienced investor, and renowned philanthropist. He is the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Omega Advisors, Inc. one of the leading investment hedge funds in the United States.

He is one of the richest Americans having been ranked many times for his wealth by Forbes magazine.

Early Beginnings

Leon G. Cooperman was born in New York City on April 25, 1943. Leon Cooperman was brought up by his Jewish parents who emigrated from Poland to escape the Holocaust and settled in the United States in the early 1930’s. His father was a plumber and his mother was a house wife.

He attained his first Bachelors degree from Hunters College in the United States and was the first child in his family to get a college degree, something that made his parents proud. In his undergraduate years at the Hunters College, Cooperman was known to be an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi. In 1965, right after graduation, he took up a job as a Xerox quality control engineer. He later pursued his MBA at Columbia Business School which he attained in 1967.

Career

After graduation, Leon Cooperman took up a position at Goldman Sachs Inc. The young man spent his first twenty two years at the firm working in various high profile positions. He served as the partner in-charge in the Investment Research Department, Co-Chairman of the then Investment Policy Committee and Chairman of the Stock Selection Committee for a very long time.

In 1989, he was appointed as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and in addition took up the Chief Investment Officer of the equity product line responsibilities including management of the GS Capital Growth Fund for two years. This was an open-ended mutual fund.

Leon Cooperman decided to resign from Goldman, Sachs & Co after 22 years of service forfeiting his positions as General Partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co and Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

With the immense experience he had acquired working at Goldman Sachs Inc, Cooperman went into a private venture. Cooperman organized a private investment partnership called Omega Advisors, Inc. For a long time he served as the Chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, Inc., which is to date a New York based investment management firm that is estimated to be managing over $6 billion in assets for clients.

Omega Advisors Inc

Leon Cooperman formed Omega Advisors Inc in 1991, after leaving Goldman Sachs & Co after 25 years of service at the investment firm. However after only a two year streak, his profits started dwindling much faster than he had expected.

By 1993, the hedge fund’s performance started to cool off. Although he had excelled highly at Goldman Sachs & Co, and was for nine consecutive years a leading strategist, Leon’s firm was not doing as well as he had expected. He looked for help. Help came in the form of Steve Einhorn. Steve brought some reprieve at Omega Advisors when he joined Leon Cooperman as Vice Chairman. Steve had also spent much of his career at Goldman Sachs. He had also served in various capacities in higher management at the firm just like Leon Cooperman. At one point he was partner in-charge of Global Investment Research and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs Investment Policy Committee and was for 16 consecutive years a member of Institutional Investor’s “All-America Research Team”.

Perhaps putting together the knowledge and skills they acquired at Goldman Sachs Inc., was what Omega Advisors needed. Leon Cooperman and Steve Einhorn worked together to revive the failing firm. Fortunately their efforts paid off and the firm made a complete turnaround in a year’s time much to their delight.

As of December 31, 2014, Omega Advisors was estimated to have approximately $9.3 billion assets under management or clients. The firm seemed to have followed Warren Buffets advice that in order for a firm to succeed, it must align its interests with that of its investors. There is a significant amount of general partner capital invested in the Omega Advisory funds and following their recent winning strategies and customer satisfaction, it is expected Omega Advisory will do even better.

Awards and Honors

As a renowned and Chartered Financial Analyst, Leon Cooperman has served in the past as the President of the New York Society of Security Analysts, to date he remains a senior member of the body. He is also a member of board of Trustees of Columbia University and serves as the Chairman of Emeritus of the Saint Barnabas Development Foundation.
He was named the number one portfolio strategist in the Institutional investor industry in the All –America Research Team Survey for nine consecutive years. He appeared on Forbes list of 40 highest-Earning hedge fund managers in 2013 and was subsequently listed as one of the 25 Highest-Earning hedge fund managers in 2014 in the United States.

Leon cooper started the famed ‘Cooperman word’ when he penned an open later to President Barrack Obama in November 2011. In the letter he complained of among other what he termed as the President’s ploy to mistreat and frustrate American billionaires. He accused President Obama of creating and encouraging a class conflict between the rich and the poor in society.

Bloomberg Markets magazine in 2012, named Leon Cooperman on its the 50 Most Influential list. His influence s not only in the financial markets but also in social and political circles especially after the fame of the Open letter he wrote to Obama in 2011.

Philanthropy

Leon Copperman is not only known for his wealth but also for his giving spirit. The amazingly philanthropic billionaire has reportedly signed the Giving pledge, committing to donating the majority of his wealth to charity when he passes way. His wife too has signed the same pledge.

The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation currently has about $200 million in assets and is a charitable initiative by Leon Cooperman and his wife Toby. The Foundation supports charities and welfare movements in the United States and beyond.

In 2014, Cooperman donated over $25 million to St. Barnabas Hospital to assist services at the facility and promote research on various diseases.

Some of the other key philanthropic initiatives Cooperman have been involved in the United Jewish Appeal, Paul Tudor Jones’ Robin Hood Foundation, the NJ Performing Arts Center, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

As an alumni of Columbia University, Leon Cooperman once donated $25 million to support the expansion of the school’s campus. This is just one of the charitable donations he has made to the institution. Through the Cooperman Scholarship Challenge, which Cooperman created in 2007, over 40 need based scholarships have been created in at the Columbia University. Another needs based scholarship fund Cooperman created is the Leon Cooperman Scholarship.

Created in 2010, this one offers financial aid for need based students around the United States. As if that was not enough, he continued to invest in higher education, through a fund he had established in 1995, the Leon Cooperman Professorship of Finance and Economics.

He is also credited for creating the Master Player of the Portfolios with Purpose, which is virtual stock trading contest for traders.

He was credited as being the first Jews in the country to endow Birthright Israel, which is an innovative program that organizes for student exchange visits between the United States and Israel. Jews aged from 18 to 26 are sent on free short-term visits to Israel to learn their ancient cultures to promote Jewish identity among the Jewish community in the United States and vice versa.

Leon Cooperman has been known to be proud of his Jewish culture. He once stated that he was proud of the Jewish community for loving their religion, heritage and their community. He added that he was proud of the many accomplishments his community has made and contributed to the society as a whole. He however was concerned by the ideology of assimilation and he expressed his fear on the possible disappearance of the Jewish culture and religion.

Personal Life

Leon Cooperman is one happy billionaire with a happy family life. He is married to Toby Cooperman and together they have two sons Wayne and Michael and three grandchildren. His official residential home is in New Jersey.

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