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Leon G. "Lee" Cooperman (born April 25, 1943) is an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager,[1] and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, a New York-based investment advisory firm managing over $3.3 billion in assets under management, the majority consisting of his personal wealth.

Leon G. Cooperman
Born (1943-04-25) April 25, 1943 (age 76)
ResidenceShort Hills, New Jersey, US
Alma materHunter College
Columbia Business School
OccupationInvestor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist
Known forStarting Goldman Sachs's asset management arm
Founding and leading Omega Advisors
Net worthUS$3.2 billion (July 2018)[1]
Spouse(s)Toby Cooperman
ChildrenWayne and Michael

On September 21, 2016 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Cooperman and Omega Advisors with insider trading, more specifically for "trading stocks, bonds and call options of Atlas Pipeline Partners in July 2010 on information he obtained from an executive at the company."[2] Cooperman has denied these charges saying they were "totally without merit," and his attorney has argued that "no court has upheld a misappropriation theory of insider trading based on a purported promise to keep information confidential (or to refrain from trading) made after the information was acquired.""[3][4]

Cooperman through his Omega Charitable Partnership, along with Anthony Melchiorre owns American Media, Inc. (AMI), publishers of the National Enquirer, since August 2014.[5][6]


Early life and educationEdit

Cooperman was born to a Jewish[7] family in the South Bronx, New York City.[8] He is the son of immigrants from Poland.[9] Cooperman was the first in his family to earn a college degree.[10][11] As an undergraduate at Hunter College, Cooperman joined and was an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi. After graduating, he became a quality control engineer at Xerox in 1965.[1] Cooperman later received his MBA from Columbia Business School, graduating in 1967.[12]

Investment careerEdit

Early career and Goldman SachsEdit

Directly after graduating from Columbia, Cooperman joined Goldman Sachs. He spent his first twenty-two years at Goldman in the Investment Research Department as partner-in-charge, co-chairman of the Investment Policy Committee and chairman of the Stock Selection Committee. In 1989, he became chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management[13][14] and was chief investment officer of the equity product line including managing the GS Capital Growth Fund, an open-end mutual fund, for one and one-half years.[15]

While at Goldman Sachs, for nine consecutive years, Cooperman was voted the number one portfolio strategist in the Institutional Investor "All-America Research Team" survey.[16][17]

At the end of 1991 after twenty-five years of service, Cooperman retired from his positions as a general partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and as chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.[18]


After leaving Goldman Sachs, he organized a private investment partnership, Omega Advisors, Inc.[19][20][21][22] Cooperman retired in 2016 and converted Omega to a family office.[23]

2016 SEC investigationEdit

On September 21, 2016, Cooperman was charged with insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[4][24] He denied the charges.[25][26][27] Cooperman faced criminal charges in a related parallel proceeding and has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before a SEC hearing.[28] In May 2017 Cooperman's firm agreed to a $4.9 million settlement with the SEC. As part of the agreement, Omega Advisers admitted no wrongdoing. Following the settlement, Cooperman commented: "The process in my opinion was totally abusive. It's a problem that the government should address,"[29]

Personal lifeEdit

With his wife Toby, he has two sons, Wayne and Michael, and three grandchildren.[7][30][31][10] Since the late 1970s, Cooperman has been a resident of the Short Hills neighborhood of Millburn, New Jersey.[32] He has an honorary doctorate in finance from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.[33][34][35]

In 2012, Cooperman was included in the 50 Most Influential list of Bloomberg Markets magazine.[36] Forbes listed Cooperman as one of the 40 Highest-Earning hedge fund managers in 2013.[37] In the following year, the publication listed him among the top 25.[38]

Political and economic viewsEdit

In November 2011, Cooperman gained attention for an open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama in which among other things charged the president with engaging in class warfare.[39][40] This letter has been characterized by Joseph Palermo of The Huffington Post as a rant bemoaning the mistreatment of billionaires by the president and his "minions" (Cooperman's word).[41]


In 1995, he endowed the Leon Cooperman Professorship of Finance and Economics.[42]

Signators of The Giving Pledge,[43] Cooperman and his wife joined the cause in 2010.[44]

Cooperman and his family committed $5 million in 2010 as a permanent fund intended to anchor activities supporting Jewish identity and continuity among young adults.[7] The Cooperman Family Fund for a Jewish Future endowment of Birthright Israel, was the first endowment of this kind in the country.[45]

Cooperman donated $25 million to his alma mater, Columbia Business School, in 2011. The donation was given to support the construction of new facilities in New York's Manhattanville neighborhood, including a new facility for Columbia's Graduate School of Business.[46]

In April 2014, the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation pledged $25 million to the Saint Barnabas Medical Center for the construction of a new 200,000 square-foot Cooperman Family Pavilion.[47]

Cooperman launched a scholarship funding program in 2015. The Cooperman College Scholars Fund assists high-achieving high school students pay for their college educations.[48][49] At launch, the Cooperman College Scholars Fund partnered with four colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: The College of New Jersey, Rutgers, Rowan University, and Franklin & Marshall College.[50]

He is also a founding Master Player of the Portfolios with Purpose virtual stock trading contest.[51]

He serves as a board member for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.[1][52]

Cooperman is also a charitable member of the Songs of Love Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that records personalized music for those facing chronic illness.[48] On June 7, 2017 Cooperman presented a One Million Dollar Four-Year Challenge Grant from The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation.[53]


  1. ^ a b c d "Forbes profile: Leon G. Cooperman". Forbes. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
  2. ^ SEC Charges Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman With Insider Trading, retrieved 2017-02-20
  3. ^ "The SEC's Biggest Insider Trading Case Is Heating Up". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
  4. ^ a b SEC News Press Release: "SEC Charges Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman With Insider Trading" September 21, 2016
  5. ^ Staff, Larry Edelman Globe; February 11; 2019; Comments, 9:36 a m Email to a Friend Share on Facebook Share on TwitterPrint this Article View. "Who loaned $460m to American Media? Inquiring minds want to know - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  6. ^ "At Hedge Fund That Owns Trump Secrets, Clashes and Odd Bond Math". 20 June 2019. Retrieved 22 June 2019 – via
  7. ^ a b c New Jersey Jewish News: "Family’s $5 million gift is devoted to continuity - Cooperman Fund will help Birthright, camps, and teen philanthropy" by Johanna Ginsberg February 10, 2010
  8. ^ "Hedge Fund - Omega Advisors". Insider Monkey. March 31, 2014.
  9. ^ Freeland, Chrystia (8 October 2012). "Super-Rich Irony". Retrieved 21 September 2016. ... going on to describe his humble beginnings in the South Bronx, as the son of working-class parents—his father was a plumber—who had emigrated from Poland.
  10. ^ a b Delevingne, Lawrence (15 July 2014). "Alpha addict: The amazing career of Leon Cooperman". Retrieved 21 September 2016. ... was the first in his family to go to college...
  11. ^ Strauss, Lawrence C. (20 May 2013). "Cues From Cooperman". Barron's. Retrieved 21 September 2016. The son of a plumber, Cooperman grew up in the Bronx and was the first member of his family to get a college degree, in his case at Hunter College.
  12. ^ Durgy, Edwin (23 April 2012). ""Great Sense Of Gratitude" Inspires $25 Million Gift From Hedge Fund Billionaire To Alma Mater". Retrieved 21 September 2016. Cooperman has served on the Board of Overseers at Columbia Business School for more than 20 years and received his MBA from the school in January of 1967.
  13. ^ "Wall Street; Investing Goldman's New Money". The New York Times. 3 June 1990. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Market Place; Sotheby's Stock Loses Some Gloss". The New York Times. 24 November 1989. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  15. ^ "A Partner Is Retiring At Goldman, Sachs". The New York Times. 2 July 1991. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  16. ^ "JTS Gala Event on "Good Investing and Investing in Good" Will Honor Richard S. Pzena in May". 4 April 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016. For nine consecutive years, he was voted the number one portfolio strategist in Institutional Investor magazine's annual "All-America Research Team" survey. A designated Chartered Financial Analyst, Mr. Cooperman is a past president of the New York Society of Security Analysts. He is chairman emeritus of the Saint Barnabas Development Foundation; a member of the board of overseers of Columbia University Graduate School of Business and the board of directors of Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation; on the investment committee of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and board chairman of Green Spaces in Newark, New Jersey.
  17. ^ "Humble Beginnings, Leon Cooperman's Top-Yield Stocks in Review". 16 December 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Omega Advisors, Inc. - Home Pages". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Omega Partners' Leon Cooperman takes stake in Waltham tech firm Lionbridge - Boston Business Journal". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  20. ^ "Why Leon Cooperman is Spending Billions on These 3 Small-Cap Stocks". 11 February 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  21. ^ Staff, AOL. "Hedge Fund Billionaire Leon Cooperman Is Giving Most of It Away". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  22. ^ "10. Leon Cooperman". Retrieved 21 September 2016. He departed in 1991 to found Omega, his own fund management company.
  23. ^ Gara, Antoine. "Know When To Fold 'Em: Billionaire Leon Cooperman To Close Hedge Fund After Big Comeback". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  24. ^ Alexandra Stevenson; Matthew Goldstein (21 September 2016). "Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman Charged With Insider Trading". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  25. ^ "Leon Cooperman Denies SEC Insider Trading Charges". 21 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  26. ^ Pramuk, Jacob (21 September 2016). "Leon Cooperman: SEC charges are without merit; we will vigorously defend ourselves". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  27. ^ Merle, Renae (21 September 2016). "Hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman charged with insider trading". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  28. ^ Patricia Hurtado (7 February 2017). February 2017 "Cooperman's Lawyer Says He Faced Parallel Criminal Inquiry" Check |url= value (help). Bloomberg Markets.
  29. ^ Cox, Jeff (2017-05-30). "Leon Cooperman: I settled with the SEC because 'I'm wealthy' and an easy target". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  30. ^ "WEDDINGS; Miss Holtz, Mr. Cooperman". 19 March 1995. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  31. ^ Wee, Gillian (28 June 2012). "Cooperman Says Earning 13% in Stocks Takes 'Average IQ'". Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved 21 September 2016. Despite being a billionaire, Cooperman, who has three grandchildren, says he has no plans to retire soon.
  32. ^ Delevingne, Lawrence. "For Leon Cooperman, a long fall from dizzying heights", CNBC, September 21, 2016. Accessed October 6, 2016. "Leon Cooperman is addicted to investing. The hedge fund manager's stock-junkie lifestyle starts at 5:15 a.m. on weekdays, when he wakes up in the Short Hills, New Jersey, house he's lived in for 36 years."
  33. ^ "Leon G. Cooperman". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  34. ^ "Leon G. Cooperman Ph.D., CFA: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  35. ^ "EOC presents Burton Kossoff Lecture Series". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  36. ^ Robert S. Dieterich (September 4, 2012). "Most Influential 50 in 2012 Shows Turmoil: Bloomberg Markets". Bloomberg Markets.
  37. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2013), "The 40 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers & Traders 2013", Forbes
  38. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2014), "The 25 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers And Traders", Forbes
  39. ^ Leon's Open Letter. International Business Daily. Nov 30, 2011.
  40. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin. "It's Tone, Not Taxes, a Tycoon Tells the President". DealBook, The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  41. ^ Joseph Palermo (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Leon Cooperman Writes "Open Letter to President Obama"". Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  42. ^ Karen Paff (April 23, 2012). "Leon Cooperman Gives School $25 Million for Manhattanville Campus". Columbia Business School.
  43. ^ "Pledger List - The Giving Pledge". Giving Pledge. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  44. ^ "Zuckerberg and Icahn Join Buffett and Gates on Giving Pledge List". The New York Times. December 9, 2010.
  45. ^ "Raising Jews | Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  46. ^ Durgy, Edwin. ""Great Sense Of Gratitude" Inspires $25 Million Gift From Hedge Fund Billionaire To Alma Mater". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  47. ^ "Saint Barnabas Medical Center receives largest donation in its history". NJBiz. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  48. ^ a b Gara, Antoine. "Know When To Fold 'Em: Billionaire Leon Cooperman To Close Hedge Fund After Big Comeback". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  49. ^ "Cooperman College Scholars pledges support for nearly two dozen Essex County teens | News". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  50. ^ "Can $25 Million get 500 poor kids to and through college?". US News. October 1, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  51. ^ Ziegler, Maseena (1 December 2012). "When Quitting Is Not An Option - How You Can Find Purpose And Fulfillment Through Your Career". Forbes. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  52. ^ "Our Leadership | Damon Runyon". Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  53. ^ "Philanthropist's grant lifts spirits at Songs of Love". TimesLedger. Retrieved 2019-02-01.

External linksEdit