Photo: Business Insider
Top priority on Wall Street is adding quantifiable value to your employer.The most important contribution financiers bring to their firm is revenue. But value is also added by good management and presenting a positive image to the public.
So in judging Wall Street’s Most Valuable Players, we looked at the people on Wall Street who bring the most total value to their firm in those three areas: revenue, good management, and positive press coverage.
The decision process
First we asked you, our readers, to nominate the financiers who matter the most at their firm. From a list of over 150 players in private equity, asset management, and investment banking, we then narrowed the list down to 100 and asked you to rank each of them on a scale from (1) “empty suit” to (5) “extremely valuable.”
A clear winner emerged, and so did the 50 most valuable players on Wall Street. Their firms would be lost without them. Without further ado, we proudly present the 50 MVPs on Wall Street.
Click here to see this year’s Clusterstock 50 >
CEO, Paulson & Co
Why he's on the list: John Paulson was the clear winner in our poll. In the past year, his gold-denominated fund (he was the first hedge fund manager to launch such a fund) returned 35% in 2010. In total, his funds produced over $8.4 billion of gross gains (before fees) for investors in 2010. Also notable is that under Paulson, Brad Rosenberg traded over $100 billion in fixed income securities in 2010. Unfortunately, his biggest fund, Advantage, is down a bit (-1.2%) this year. But other funds are up, like Credit Opportunities (up 7.8% YTD) and the Recovery fund (up 5.7% YTD).
Fun Fact: On April 13th and 14th, he was in Vegas for the Advantage Fund's investor conference. Harrah's CEO and MGM's CEO spoke. Evening activities: Cirque du Soliel. Day activities: a golf outing. He's holding a mid-year investor conference in Paris from June 7-8. Also, Paulson is the first (and so far he's the only) finance guy to get a shout-out on 30 Rock.
Quote: 'There are serious uncertainties about the exit strategy of the Fed. I'd be very surprised if there was a third round of QE.' - Paulson, April 2011
Why he's on the list: Ray Dalio manages the biggest hedge fund in the world, with $86 billion under management. Behind John Paulson, Dalio brought home the most money in 2010 because of he generated such great returns. Bridgewater put up its best numbers in its 36-year history.
Fun Fact: Dalio practices Transcendental Meditation and he has built into everyday office life at Bridgewater.
Quote: 'The first stock I bought was a company called Northeast Airlines and the only reason I bought it was that it was the only company I heard of that was trading for less than $5 per share, so I could buy more shares, which I figured was a good thing. It went up a lot. It was about to go broke but another company acquired it, so it tripled.' -Dalio on the first stock he every bought when he was 12 years old.
Why he's on the list: Fink helped found BlackRock in 1988, and still under his control, BlackRock now manages more than $3.65 trillion. And his numbers continue to grow. BlackRock's Q1 net income rose 34% since last year. In December of 2009, Fink's BlackRock acquired Barclay's Global Investors, to become the largest money-management firm in the world.
During the American economic crisis, top officials from the U.S. Treasury, turned to Fink for advice.
Fun fact: Fink majored in Political Science at U.C.L.A. and married his high school sweetheart the summer after he graduated from college.
Quote: 'It's what I tell everybody today: you should analyse your portfolio just as much when you are making money, because you could be taking on too much risk.
CEO, Tiger Global
Why he's on the list: Credit Coleman with being one of Facebook's early investors and continually leading his fund to strong returns. In the past year, after Facebook was valued for the first time, Coleman wrote up his private investment in the company and other private companies. His fund would have performed well this year even had he not. He was up over 20% alone and over 60% after writing up the Facebook and other private investments, according to an investor. This year he's still on a roll. In February, he raised $1.25 a new private equity fund, his sixth, and plans to use some of its money to invest more in Facebook. He also invested in LinkedIn last year.
Fun Fact: You know Wall Street? His great-great-great...(add a few more greats) grandfather, Peter Stuyvesant, built the wall.
Why he's on the list: Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone filed for its IPO four years ago, and struggle in the year following. But since then, the company's profits continue to rise. This year, Blackstone reported its highest earnings since becoming a public company.
Fun Fact: Schwarzman lives in triplex on Park Avenue, which was once home to John D. Rockefeller. Schwarzman also gives back to the young business world, as he is announcing a new entrepreneurship initiative in the research triangle in North Carolina.
Quote: 'We're one of the biggest investors in what are now called alternative assets -- which is leveraged buy-outs, real estate, hedge funds, mezzanine debt -- in the world, and every time we have one of these new perceptions that there's a really interesting thing to be done, you just do it. It's sort of like a basketball player who only shoots when they get a real good sense that they're in the zone, OK?'
Why he's on the list: Kovner founded Caxton in 1983 and remains in charge today. Kovner is one of the most powerful hedge fund managers and Caxton continues growth each year. Last October, Caxton filed a 13G with the SEC regarding shares of VECO Instruments. Caxton now has a 5.3% ownership stake in the company. Kovner also recently announced a strategic hire: Sushil Wadhwani, a star economist who will now run a large portion of Caxton's funds.
Fun Fact: Kovner is an accomplished pianist and reportedly sits down each night at his grand piano to play. Kovner also continuously makes it on to the Forbes' Billionaires list.
Quote: 'Michael taught me one thing that was incredibly important. He taught me that you could make a million dollars. He showed me that if you applied yourself, great things could happen. It is very easy to miss the point that you really can do it.' - Bruce Kovner on Michael Marcus
Chairman, Renaissance Tech
Why he's on the list: Despite being technically 'retired,' the maths whiz Ph.D. is still the firm's most valuable asset. Simons' Medallion fund returned a stunning 30% in 2010, better than any of its other funds (as far as we know at least).
Fun Fact: Simons' maths inspired a ballet at Stonybrook University, where he is on the board. It performed in January and was called 'Differential Cohomology.'
Quote: 'After seven minutes, enough action came back that the whole thing was reversed. In my opinion, the system worked beautifully.' - Simons on the Flash Crash, 2010
CEO, Eton Park
Why he's on the list: Mindich, a former Goldman Sachs partner left in 2004 to form Eton Park, which now manages $13 billion. Most recently, Eton Park acquired securities of Largo Resources Ltd.
Fun Fact: Mindich still holds the title for the youngest-ever to be named partner at Goldman at age 27, just a few years after he graduated summa cum laude from Harvard. He interned at Goldman each summer starting his sophomore year.
Quote: 'He's 27, single, and rich.' -When Mindich became a Goldman Sachs partner at the age of 27, The WSJ began a C1 story about him with that line.
CEO, Man Group
Why he's on the list: Clarke addressed changing markets and investor requirements with the ground-breaking purchase and integration of GLG Partners last year -- which created the world's largest quoted hedge fund manager, with more than $69 billion in assets, and created a stable of uncorrelated investment strategies. He also just raised $1.5 billion for Man from Japanese investors.
Fun Fact: Man's offices in sugar quay, a few paces up the Thames from the Tower of London, contain two bottles of 18th century rum, a reminder of the group's origins -- 228 years ago as a commodities trader which among other things, provided rum for the Royal Navy. Also, since the GLG merger, people are allowed to wear jeans in Man's Sugar Quay building as well as in GLG's Curzon Street office.
Quote: 'In the course of our 2011 financial year, we have fundamentally reshaped our business and delivered positive performance across a comprehensive range of liquid alternative investment styles. We have made excellent progress with the integration of GLG, sold our stake in BlueCrest to focus our resources on in-house capabilities, secured a major mandate win for our re-focused Multi-Manager business and returned to positive flows.
Why he's on the list: Griffin founded Citadel in 1990, and the firm manages more than $11 billion. Griffin's Citadel had a rough 2008, but the hedge fund is bouncing back. Griffin just announced a new quant fund. He hired two traders from Knight Capital to manage it, Jamil Nazarali and Matt Cushman.
Fun Fact: Griffin's wife, Anne Dias-Griffin, also owns a hedge fund, Aragon Global Management. They recently purchased a $12 million vacation home in Hawaii.
Quote: 'Our financial markets work best when they are competitive, fair, and transparent.'
CEO, Jefferies & Co
Why he's on the list: Handler jumped into the ring after the financial crisis and has since been busy ambitiously pushing Jefferies to a level where it can compete with big investment banks. In two years, he's increased the headcount at the 3,000-person by ~850 people, a number of whom have been senior people he poached from firms like Deutsche Bank and from PIMCO, to name just two examples. Most recently, Jefferies boosted its trading resume by acquiring Prudential Bache's global commodities group from Prudential Financial for $430 million.
Fun Fact: His pay in 2010 topped every bulge bracket bank at $47.3 million.
Quote: 'One of the things I'm most proud of with our company is that we've got a lot of employees, clients, shareholders and a board that really care.' - Handler on donating a day's worth of global net equity-trading revenue to disaster-relief efforts in Japan.
Co-President, Warburg Pincus
Why he's on the list: Landy is Warburg's tech man and in 2010, Warburg co-completed one of the biggest private equity deals of the year, the $3.4 billion acquisition of IDC, a market research firm that provides information available on the tech industry, particularly in information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology.
Fun Fact: Long before Warburg, he was a clerk on the floor of the NYSE and a zamboni driver. He likes fishing and golfing.
Quote: 'These banks are complicated beasts at times...' - June 2010
'Ships are safest in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for,' is his favourite quote.
Why he's on the list: Klarman boosted Baupost's assets to $23 million last year. He generated a monstrous $6.5 billion in net investment profits from January 1, 2009 to September 2010 ('net' of an estimated $2 billion of performance and management fees). Baupost also recently announced that it's expanding into Europe with the opening of its first overseas office in London.
Fun Fact: He returned 5% of capital to investors this year, saying, 'Today, Baupost's opportunity set is smaller than it has been in some years.'
Quote: Klarman likes this quote from Ben Graham, an economist: 'Those with the enterprise lack the money and those with the money lack the enterprises to buy stocks when they are cheap.'
CIO & CEO, PIMCO
Why he's on the list: El-Erian is the lead portfolio manager at PIMCO, the world's largest bond investor with over US$1 trillion of assets under management as of 2010. He sets the firm's direction and leads its operations globally. In April, PIMCO announced it would launch the Pimco Total Return ETF, the first ETF run by such a large fund manager.
Fun Fact: His father is an Egyptian diplomat. He is fluent in Arabic.
Quote: 'The world has changed its supplier of global public goods in the past. The last time it happened, after World War II, an energized US replaced a devastated Britain. By contrast, there is no country today that is able and willing to step in should the US fail to get its act together.' - El-Erian, April 2011
Why he's on the list: Gross manages the Total Return Fund, the world's largest mutual fund with assets of $240.7 billion as of December 31, 2010. In April he announced he would launch a new ETF fund for PIMCO, PIMCO Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund.
Fun fact: Gross is an avid stamp collector. In 2007, he auctioned off 200 stamps from his collection and donated the proceeds to charity.
Quote: 'Most fund managers say if you put on 10 trades, and six or seven do well, that's a good day. Bill doesn't think that way. He wants all 10 to do well.' -El Erian said of Gross.
Why he's on the list: In 2007, Pandit was named CEO of Citigroup. Throughout the financial crisis, Pandit and Citgroup faced much scrutiny, but Pandit has begun turning it around. This year, in April 2011, Citigroup officially surpassed Bank of America to become the nation's biggest bank by market value. This is the first time this has happened since before the financial crisis.
Pandit's Citigroup also just completed its fifth in a row profitable quarter.
Fun Fact: Pandit moved to Queens from India when he was 16 years old.
Quote: 'As I stated earlier, I plan to take a dollar per year salary and no bonus until we return to profitability.'
Why he's on the list: Prince is said to be the heir to Ray Dalio's institutional hedge fund giant, Bridgewater. Bridgewater's Alpha fund returned a massive 38% this year.
Fun Fact: Prince belongs to the Silver Spring golf club in Ridgefield, CT. Handicap: 2.5. He also likes to scuba dive.
Quote: 'You can have anything you want so long as it doesn't cost more than a fiver,' and 'It's my life,' are Prince's favourite quotes.
CEO, Lone Pine Capital
Why he's on the list: Mandel manages almost all of the firm's assets despite its size ($20 billion AUM), he runs a small shop. The hedge fund was up about 13% for 2010. His fund is a Tiger cub and he is known as one of the best fundamental stock pickers out there.
Fun Fact: He's a Phillips Exeter Academy (a boarding school in Massachusets) and Dartmouth graduate and is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the college. He lives in Greenwich.
Quote: 'The developed world consumer, particularly in the US, will likely suffer an extended hangover from years of credit fuelled overconsumption.' - Mandel, 2010
Why he's on the list: Altman continues to grow Evercore, and continues to poach key players from bulge banks to bring their expertise to Evercore. Altman himself is part of the lure to bring the top bankers to Evercore. He is an ex-Treasury official, and worked previously at Lehman and Blackstone. Evercore has gone from 33 partners in 2007, to 60 as of the end of March 2011. This year, Evercore advised Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway on its controversial purchase of Lubrizol.
Fun Fact: Altman's name comes up often for government jobs, including most recently for a vacancy in Obama's economic advisory team.
Quote: 'Evercore would continue without missing a beat.' -Altman says if he were ever to leave (although he's not planning on it) his company would still run smoothly.
Founder & CEO, Maverick Capital
Why he's on the list: A Tiger cub, Ainslie's $12 billion fund increased assets by $2 billion and was up 11.2% in 2010. He runs one of the best performing long/short equity funds with a high gross exposure, high net exposure.
Fun Fact: He's on the board of Paul Tudor Jones' Robin Hood Foundation.
Quote: 'Tech stocks are the cheapest they've been in 20 years.' - Ainslie, October 2010
Why he's on the list: His business's main credit hedge fund, Fortress Opportunities Fund, gained 32.4% in 2010. Briger joined Fortress in 2002 from Goldman Sachs and worked his way up to co-chairman in 2006. Briger announced in October that Fortress would be opening an office in San Francisco because of their booming business in Asia. Now they have offices in NY, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Frankfurt, Sydney, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Fran and Los Angeles.
Fun Fact: Briger is currently selling his apartment on Park Ave, who he bought from the famous actor Harrison Ford in 2004.
Quote: 'In the next five years we'll see more financial asset liquidation out of the regulated banking system and shadow banking system than we've seen in the sum total of the last 100 years.'
CEO, Deutsche Bank
Why he's on the list: Ackermann started his career at Deutsche in 1996 and quickly worked his way up to the top. Last year, Ackermann announced Deutsche would buy Deutsche Postbank. This was the biggest rights issue ever for Deutsche Bank. Ackermann said that as a result, Deustche can continue to expand its strong position in its home market. Deutsche raised about $10 million Euros in order to complete the transaction.
Fun Fact: During college, Ackermann also served in the Army Reserves, where he was quickly promoted to colonel.
Quote: 'I know that many of our peers have reduced their return on equity targets and, of course, we have to do the same,' Mr Ackermann said. 'But let me be very clear, I would differentiate between a transition phase and the end game.'
CEO, Bank of America
Why he's on the list: In his first year as CEO of BAC, Moynihan had big mess to clean up. He is slowly, but surely rebuilding the troubled bank. In January, he paid back $2.8 billion in owed funds to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Moynihan, unlike the former CEO Lewis, says he is not at all focusing on acquisitions rather he is emphasising improving the firm's internal growth.
Fun Fact: Moynihan was a hard-working athlete. He ran track and played basketball in high school and played rugby at Brown.
Quote: 'We have everything we need at Bank of America to be the best financial services company in the world,' Moynihan said, 'what we need to do now is very simple. We need to execute.'
Why he's on the list: Novogratz runs the Drawbridge Global Macro Fund which continues to grow each quarter. In 2010, it was up 9.8%. Fortress' flagship, Fortress Macro Fund was up 10.7%.
Fun Fact: Novogratz wrestled when he was in college at Princeton. He also is a former helicopter pilot in the New Jersey National Guard.
Quote: 'You know, I thought a lot about why private equity and hedge funds have been paid so much. 30 years ago, investors didn't get paid near what they get paid today. And I really think that we're in a unique period of history where there are these giant pools of capital being amassed in places that don't have a sophisticated infrastructure of investing.' - Novogratz, November 2010
Co-CEO, Barclays Capital
Why he's on the list: Last year, Ricci's Barclays net income beat estimates of analysts. The securities unit, lead by Ricci and colleague Jerry del Missier, climbed to $7.9 billion. Ricci and del Missier became Co-CEOs last summer, after Bob Diamond was named Chief Executive.
Fun Fact: Ricci owns a 10-year-old racing horse named Zaidpour.
Quote: 'But I just love Irish racing. The people are fantastic, the atmosphere is really good and the prize-money is still attractive. My wife and I get a real buzz from it.' - Ricci on why he doesn't have a racing horse in England, even though he is based there.
Managing Director, Venture Capital, Bain Capital
Why he's on the list: Agarwal is a marketing guy, so he deserves the credit for two of Bain's newest funds meeting their fundraising goals, $4.25 billion, in mid April, after just two months. Bain's 11th core buyout fund, announced in April, will include investments in India.
Fun Fact: Agarwal holds a patent for the 'Method and Apparatus of Configuration Solutions.'
Managing Director, Highfields Capital
Why he's on the list: Last year, Jacobson's Highfields Capital, which manages about $10 billion in funds, gained almost 16% last year by betting on falling and rising asset prices and investing in companies with large market capitalizations.
Fun Fact: Jacobson was named a 'Crimson Cub,' by Bloomberg, a group of Harvard grads that have 'have climbed into the top ranks of hedge funds and private equity.'
Head of the equity strategies group of KKR's asset management segment, KKR
Why he's on the list: Howard managed to bring a team of 7 from Goldman Sachs to KKR, which is no small management feat. The rumour is that while at Goldman, he was de-partnered. But he's back with force at KKR, leading the build-out of an equities-focused public market alternative investment effort. KKR recently reported a 10% rise in earnings.
Fun Fact: He received the John Loeb Award for academic achievement in finance from Harvard Business School.
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