Leon G. Cooperman: From Humble Beginnings to Billionaire Investor

Leon G. Cooperman 1

Leon G. Cooperman: The Billionaire Investor


Leon G. Cooperman, also known as Lee Cooperman, is an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of Omega Advisors, a New York-based investment firm. He is also known for his philanthropic contributions, including a $25 million donation that he made to his alma mater, Columbia University.

Born in 1943 in the Bronx, Cooperman grew up in a modest family with Jewish immigrant parents. He started his career on Wall Street as a stockbroker and eventually became a top-ranked analyst at Goldman Sachs. He founded Omega Advisors in 1991 and has been active in the investment world ever since.

Early Life and Education

Cooperman was born on April 25, 1943, in the Bronx, New York City. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland, and his father worked as a plumber. Growing up, Cooperman attended public school and was a smart student. He was the first person in his family to attend college and received a scholarship to attend Hunter College.

After completing his undergrad degree, Cooperman went on to graduate from Columbia University’s business school with an MBA in finance. He later received an honorary Ph.D. from the same school.

Career and Achievements

Cooperman began his career on Wall Street in 1967 as a stockbroker at a small firm called Fenn & Company. He quickly climbed up the ranks and moved to Goldman Sachs in 1969, where he became a partner in 1976. During his time at Goldman Sachs, Cooperman was ranked as the top analyst in his field for nine consecutive years.

In 1991, Cooperman left Goldman Sachs and founded Omega Advisors with $25 million of his own money. He managed to grow the firm into one of the most successful hedge funds on Wall Street with over $10 billion in assets under management.

Aside from his investing prowess, Cooperman has also been recognized for his philanthropic contributions. In 2010, he signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s richest individuals to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. Cooperman has also donated millions of dollars to various educational institutions, including Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Personal Life

Cooperman has been married to his wife Toby since 1965, and the couple has two children together. They are also grandparents to several grandchildren.

In 2016, Cooperman was charged with insider trading by the SEC, which he vigorously denied. Ultimately, Cooperman settled with the SEC for $4.9 million without admitting any wrongdoing. Despite this setback, Cooperman remains one of the most respected and successful investors on Wall Street.


Name Leon G. Cooperman
Born April 25, 1943
Country United States
Sector Finance
Companies Omega Advisors
Net Worth $3.2 billion
Forbes URL
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