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The 10 Greatest Investors of All Time
When it comes to the world of investing, there are several successful investors who have created billions from the stock market. While they do not possess any special powers, what helped them create their wealth from the stock market is their ability to find unique investment opportunities that others usually can’t. The investors we’re going to talk about in this article are the people who have mastered the art of investing. While investing in the stock market is not rocket science, it does require proper knowledge, experience, and skills.
These investors are the people who didn’t shy away from taking risks, but rather used opportunities to their advantage and created fortunes from their investments. All of these investors use different and unique investment strategies and philosophies, but despite their varying strategies, they all have made billions from the market. In this article, we will have a look at the 10 greatest investors of all time, as we at Financial Education believe that going through the journeys of these legendary investors might motivate and inspire you to begin your own investment journey. So, let’s get started!
1. Warren Buffett
Warren Edward Buffett or better known as the “Oracle of Omaha” is one of the most successful investors in the world. When it comes to naming the best investors of all time, Warren Buffett is one of the most well-known personalities who has amassed billions from his investments in the stock market. Warren Buffett is an American investor, business magnate, and philanthropist. He currently serves as the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Having a net worth of over $100 billion as of April 2021, he is also the 6th richest person in the world.
Buffett is considered as one of the pioneers of value investing. Following the principles of value investing set by Benjamin Graham, Buffet has averaged an annualized return of over 20% since 1965, which is considered as one of the best investment track records. Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Warren Buffett developed an interest in investing in his youth and pursued his passion while he graduated from Colombia Business School. This is where Buffett molded his investment philosophy and learned the principles of value investing taught by Benjamin Graham. His investing style of patience, discipline, and value has helped him outperform the market consistently and become one of the most successful investors of all time.
2. Benjamin Graham
Benjamin Graham was a well-known American economist, professor, and investor. Often referred to as the “father of value investing”, Benjamin Graham was also the teacher and mentor to Warren Buffett. Benjamin Graham’s book “The Intelligent Investor” is considered as the best book ever written on value investing. Graham created huge wealth for himself by investing in the stock market using his successful investment philosophy. He is also universally recognized as the father of two fundamental investment disciplines – security analysis and value investing.
Throughout his career, Benjamin Graham excelled as an investment manager and financial educator. Using fundamental and financial analysis, Benjamin was able to identify high potential investment opportunities and stocks that turned out to be multi-baggers. Graham’s work in managerial economics and investing has led to a modern wave of value investing within mutual funds, hedge funds, diversified holding companies, and other investment vehicles. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett often describes “The Intelligent Investor” as the “best book about value investing ever written”.
3. Bill Gross
Bill H. Gross or better known as “Bond King” is an American investor and fund manager known for co-founding Pacific Investment Management. Considered as one of the most successful fund managers and investors, Bill Gross managed one of the world’s largest mutual funds that focused primarily on bonds and fixed income assets. Bill is the founder and lead manager for PIMCO, where the fund has over $600 billion under management in fixed income assets.
While many might consider Bill Gross as an investment fund manager, in reality, his investment style is something that makes him one of the best investors of all time. His investment philosophy rests on two primary foundations; the ability to formulate and articulate a long-term outlook and having the correct structural composition within one’s portfolio over time to take advantage of this outlook. Called “the nation’s most prominent bond investor” by The New York Times, Bill Gross was able to beat the market for much of his career by exploiting the element of certainty, and mastering the element of uncertainty, according to a 2002 Fortune story, “The Bond King”.
4. Peter Lynch
Investor, mutual fund manager, and philanthropist, Peter Lynch is one of the most successful fund managers known for managing the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments between 1977 and 1990 where he averaged a 29.2% annual return consistently. During his 13 years of managing the fund, the assets under management grew from twenty million to over fourteen billion dollars. Peter Lynch beat the S&P 500 index in 11 of 13 years of managing the fund.
Known for his value investing philosophy, Peter Lynch is the author of several prominent books written on investing, finance, and investing strategies. Some of Lynch’s popular books include “One Up on Wall Street”, which was published by Simon & Schuster in 1989. This book sold over one million copies and provides valuable insights on how one can succeed as an investor using value investing strategies. Peter Lynch is one of the most successful investors of all time and he has also been referred to as a “Legend” by the financial media for his incredible performance record.
5. John Templeton
Sir John Marks Templeton or better known as John Templeton was an Investor, fund manager, banker, and philanthropist. John Templeton entered the mutual fund market in 1954 and founded the Templeton Growth Fund. This fund averaged growth of over 15% per year for almost 38 years. John was also known for his investments which he made during the “Depression” and later sold them during the Internet boom, creating a huge fortune. Considered as a pioneer of emerging market investing, Money Magazine titled him as “arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century” in 1999.
John Templeton used to search for companies globally that he believed had potential. By investing in these high potential value stocks, he made investments that turned out to be multi-baggers, creating huge wealth. According to John Templeton, he called his broker the day World War II began and instructed him to purchase every stock trading at less than a dollar. This strategy among others helped him become a wealthy and successful investor. Being a British citizen who used to live in the Bahamas, Templeton was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his respectable accomplishments.
6. George Soros
George Soros is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist also known as the man who “broke the Bank of England”. He is known for his short sale of US$10 billion worth of pounds sterling, which eventually made him a profit of $1 billion during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis. George Soros is known for his unique investing style that includes simplifying broad-brush economic trends to identify high potential investment opportunities.
George Soros is known for founding and managing his Quantum Fund, which performed extremely well generating an average annual return of over 30%. Using his early studies of philosophy, Soros created the “General Theory of Reflexivity” for capital markets, which according to him renders a clear picture of asset bubbles and fundamental-market value of securities, as well as value discrepancies used for shorting and swapping stocks. Being a billionaire investor, George Soros has already donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundation, which has earned him the title of the “Most Generous Giver” according to Forbes.
7. Jesse Livermore
Jesse Lauriston Livermore of better known as Jesse Livermore was an American investor and stock trader. He is known for being the main character of the best-selling book “Reminiscences of a Stock Operator” which was written by Edwin Lefèvre. At one point in his career, Jesse Livermore was one of the richest people in the world, however, he had liabilities greater than his assets. But, he was one of the most successful investors and traders of his time. Jesse had no formal education or background in finance, but he learned everything on his own and was a self-made man who learned from his experiences.
At a time where finding accurate financial statements was a challenge, Jesse Livermore used what is now known as “Technical Analysis” and created profitable trade and investment ideas which helped him amass a huge fortune. Some of Jesse Livermore’s trades, which include taking short positions before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and just before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, are legendary within investing circles.
8. John “Jack” Bogle
John “Jack” Bogle was a successful investor, business magnate, philanthropist, and the founder and CEO of The Vanguard Group. John was credited with creating the first index fund. He was a money manager and avid investor who preferred investment over speculation and long-term patience instead of short-term gains. He believed in reducing broker fees and other costs as much as possible, and therefore, termed low-cost index funds as the ideal investment vehicles. He believed in making investments using the dollar-cost averaging method and reinvested dividends to compound wealth.
John Bogle’s bestseller book “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor” is a classic amongst investors and provides valuable insights on how to create wealth through the stock market using mutual funds. John Bogle founded the Vanguard Company in 1947, which is now regarded as one of the most successful companies in the investment world. Due to his remarkable performance in the world of investments, Fortune magazine named John Bogle as “one of the four investment giants of the twentieth century” in 1999. Often regarded as the creator of the first index fund, John is one of the greatest investors of all time.
9. Philip Fisher
Philip Arthur Fisher or also known as the father of investing in growth stocks was an American investor who is best known for his bestseller “Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits”. Philip founded his own investment firm “Fisher & Company” in 1993 and was at the helm until he retired in 1999 at the age of 91. During his 70-year career, Philip delivered excellent returns which showed his incredible ability to identify and invest in growth stocks.
Philip Fisher began his career in 1928 when he dropped out of Stanford Graduate School of Business to work as a securities analyst at the Anglo London Bank in San Francisco. Soon after, he switched to a stock exchange firm before starting his own money management company. In the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, Warren Buffett called Fisher’s “Common stocks and uncommon profits” a “very very good book”. Known for his growth stocks investing philosophy, Fisher created a fifteen-point list of characteristics that investors should look for in common stocks in order to find high potential investment opportunities. He is considered as one of the greatest investors of all time.
10. Carl Icahn
Carl Celian Icahn is a successful investor and the founder and main shareholder of Icahn Enterprises. Carl is also Chairman of Federal-Mogul, an American developer, manufacturer, and supplier of powertrain components and vehicle safety products. Known for his investing strategy that involves identifying undervalued companies and businesses, he has created millions through his efficient and effective methods. He is an activist and avid investor who uses ownership positions in publicly traded companies to enforce changes and increase the value of the company’s shares, earning him profits.
According to Forbes magazine, Icahn had a net worth of $16.7 billion in 2020, making him the 26th-wealthiest person on the Forbes 400, and the 5th-wealthiest hedge fund manager. He is well known for the “Icahn Lift”, which is a Wall Street catchphrase that explains the upward movement in stocks which usually happens once Carl starts purchasing a stake in companies that he believes are not managed efficiently and have potential. Carl Icahn has received a number of awards, including the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, and is one of the greatest investors of all time.
We hope that this article provided you with valuable information and inspired you to begin your own investment journey in the stock market. However, before making any investment decision, always check the current market conditions and other factors that might affect the value of an asset class, as investments in the financial market are subject to market risk. If you liked this article, make sure to visit Jeremy Lefebvre’s YouTube channel “Financial Education” for more such informative content! Happy investing!