Leon Cooperman

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Leon G. Cooperman
Born (1943-04-25) April 25, 1943 (age 78)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materHunter College
Columbia University
OccupationInvestor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist
Known forStarting Goldman Sachs's asset management arm
Founding and leading Omega Advisors
Spouse(s)Toby Cooperman

Leon G. "Lee" Cooperman (born April 25, 1943) is an American billionaire investor and hedge fund manager.[1] 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.[citation needed]

In September 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's firm agreed to a $4.9 million settlement with the SEC in May 2017 but admitted no wrong-doing.[3] As part of the settlement, Cooperman and Omega agreed to be subject to a compliance monitor with access to their electronic communications and trading records and to submit monthly certifications that they had not engaged in insider trading until 2022.[4]

Early life and education[]

Cooperman was born to a Jewish[5] family in the South Bronx, New York City.[6] He is the son of immigrants from Poland.[7] Cooperman was the first in his family to earn a college degree.[8][9] 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.[10] He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.[11]

Investment career[]

Early career and Goldman Sachs[]

Directly after graduating from Columbia, Cooperman joined Goldman Sachs. He spent his first 22 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[12][13] 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.[14]

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.[11][15]

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.[16]


After leaving Goldman Sachs, he organized a private investment partnership, Omega Advisors, Inc.[17][18][19][20] Cooperman retired in 2016 and converted Omega to a family office.[21]

2016 SEC investigation[]

On September 21, 2016, Cooperman was charged with insider trading by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.[22][23] He denied the charges.[24][25][26] Cooperman faced criminal charges in a related parallel proceeding and has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before a SEC hearing.[27] 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. As part of the settlement, Cooperman and Omega agreed to ongoing compliance monitoring until 2022.[4] The monitoring includes being subject to an onsite compliance monitor with access to their electronic communications and trading records.[4] In addition, Cooperman and Omega must submit monthly certifications that they were not aware of material nonpublic information prior to any securities trades.[4]

Following the settlement, Cooperman commented: "The process in my opinion was totally abusive. It's a problem that the government should address," and "My lawyers told me that the probability of my winning would be overwhelmingly high, that if I didn’t win it had nothing to do with the merits of the case,” he said. SEC officials declined to comment.[28]

Personal life[]

With his wife Toby, he has two sons, Wayne and Michael, and three grandchildren.[5][8][29] Since the late 1970s, Cooperman has been a resident of the Short Hills neighborhood of Millburn, New Jersey.[30] He has an honorary doctorate in finance from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.[31]

In 2012, Cooperman was included in the 50 Most Influential list of Bloomberg Markets magazine.[32] Forbes listed Cooperman as one of the 40 Highest-Earning hedge fund managers in 2013.[33] In the following year, the publication listed him among the top 25.[34]

Political and economic views[]

In recent years, Cooperman has primarily donated to Republican political campaigns.[35]

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.[36][37] 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).[38]

In 2019, he criticized Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's proposal to implement a wealth tax. He said it would lead to "unnatural acts, be near impossible to police, and is probably unconstitutional."[35] He said that the stock market would drop by 25% if Warren was elected.[35] In an interview on CNBC, Cooperman criticized the potential Warren wealth tax and its implications on his billion dollar fortune.[39] His criticism of the hypothetical tax increase was then used as part of a Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign advertisement.

During the January 2021 GameStop short squeeze, Cooperman appeared on CNBC to discuss the situation, angrily saying it was caused by "people sitting at home getting checks from the Government". The checks were part of the United States response to the COVID 19 pandemic, a disease which had killed more than 425,000 US citizens & caused 20 million jobs to be lost at the time of his interview. He also attacked President Biden, whom he claimed to have voted for, regarding potential capital gains tax increases, saying "the fair share is a bullshit concept" and "it was just a way of attacking wealthy people".[40][41] CNBC later cut that portion of the video from their online article about his appearance. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) responded to Cooperman in a tweet, saying "Oh look, another billionaire is mad that he might have to pay more taxes while children in America go hungry and veterans sleep on the street. Cry me a river."[42][43]


Signators of The Giving Pledge,[44] Cooperman and his wife joined the cause in 2010, which is a commitment by the world's wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to giving back.[45]

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.[5] The Cooperman Family Fund for a Jewish Future endowment of Birthright Israel, was the first endowment of this kind in the country.[46]

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.[47]

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.[48]

In September 2021, the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation donated $100 million to the Saint Barnabas Medical Center which would be renamed to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center.[49]

Cooperman launched a scholarship funding program in 2015. The Cooperman College Scholars Fund assists high-achieving high school students pay for their college educations.[50][51] 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.[52]

He is also a founding Master Player of the Portfolios with Purpose virtual stock trading contest.[53]

He serves as a board member for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.[1][54]

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.[50] On June 7, 2017 Cooperman presented a One Million Dollar Four-Year Challenge Grant from The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation.[55]


  1. ^ a b c d "Forbes profile: Leon G. Cooperman". Forbes. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  2. ^ SEC Charges Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman With Insider Trading, retrieved 2017-02-20
  3. ^ Goldstein, Matthew (2017-05-18). "Leon Cooperman's Hedge Fund Settles Insider Trading Case". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  4. ^ a b c d "SEC.gov | Statement on Leon Cooperman Settling Insider Trading Charges". www.sec.gov. Retrieved 2021-01-28.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ "Hedge Fund - Omega Advisors". Insider Monkey. March 31, 2014.
  7. ^ Freeland, Chrystia (8 October 2012). "Super-Rich Irony". newyorker.com. 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.
  8. ^ a b Delevingne, Lawrence (15 July 2014). "Alpha addict: The amazing career of Leon Cooperman". cnbc.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. ... was the first in his family to go to college...
  9. ^ Strauss, Lawrence C. (20 May 2013). "Cues From Cooperman". barrons.com. 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.
  10. ^ Durgy, Edwin (23 April 2012). ""Great Sense Of Gratitude" Inspires $25 Million Gift From Hedge Fund Billionaire To Alma Mater". Forbes.com. 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.
  11. ^ a b "JTS Gala Event on "Good Investing and Investing in Good" Will Honor Richard S. Pzena in May". jtsa.edu. 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.
  12. ^ "Wall Street; Investing Goldman's New Money". The New York Times. 3 June 1990. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Market Place; Sotheby's Stock Loses Some Gloss". The New York Times. 24 November 1989. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  14. ^ "A Partner Is Retiring At Goldman, Sachs". The New York Times. 2 July 1991. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Humble Beginnings, Leon Cooperman's Top-Yield Stocks in Review". nasdaq.com. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Omega Advisors, Inc. - Home Pages". omegaadvisors.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Omega Partners' Leon Cooperman takes stake in Waltham tech firm Lionbridge - Boston Business Journal". bizjournals.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  18. ^ "Why Leon Cooperman is Spending Billions on These 3 Small-Cap Stocks". nasdaq.com. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  19. ^ "Hedge Fund Billionaire Leon Cooperman Is Giving Most of It Away". aol.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  20. ^ "10. Leon Cooperman". forbes.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016. He departed in 1991 to found Omega, his own fund management company.
  21. ^ Gara, Antoine. "Know When To Fold 'Em: Billionaire Leon Cooperman To Close Hedge Fund After Big Comeback". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  22. ^ SEC News Press Release: "SEC Charges Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman With Insider Trading" September 21, 2016
  23. ^ Alexandra Stevenson; Matthew Goldstein (21 September 2016). "Hedge Fund Manager Leon Cooperman Charged With Insider Trading". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Leon Cooperman Denies SEC Insider Trading Charges". bloomberg.com. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  25. ^ Pramuk, Jacob (21 September 2016). "Leon Cooperman: SEC charges are without merit; we will vigorously defend ourselves". cnbc.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  26. ^ Merle, Renae (21 September 2016). "Hedge fund billionaire Leon Cooperman charged with insider trading". washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  27. ^ Patricia Hurtado (7 February 2017). "Cooperman's Lawyer Says He Faced Parallel Criminal Inquiry". Bloomberg Markets. bloomberg.com.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Wee, Gillian (28 June 2012). "Cooperman Says Earning 13% in Stocks Takes 'Average IQ'". bloomberg.com. Bloomberg Markets. Retrieved 21 September 2016. Despite being a billionaire, Cooperman, who has three grandchildren, says he has no plans to retire soon.
  30. ^ 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."
  31. ^ "Leon G. Cooperman". columbia.edu. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  32. ^ Robert S. Dieterich (September 4, 2012). "Most Influential 50 in 2012 Shows Turmoil: Bloomberg Markets". Bloomberg Markets.
  33. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2013), "The 40 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers & Traders 2013", Forbes
  34. ^ Vardi, Nathan (Feb 26, 2014), "The 25 Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers And Traders", Forbes
  35. ^ a b c Stankiewicz, Kevin (2019-11-14). "Leon Cooperman: Warren's wealth tax would lead to 'unnatural acts' and is 'probably unconstitutional'". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  36. ^ Leon's Open Letter. International Business Daily. Nov 30, 2011.
  37. ^ Andrew Ross Sorkin. "It's Tone, Not Taxes, a Tycoon Tells the President". DealBook, The New York Times. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  38. ^ Joseph Palermo (7 December 2011). "Billionaire Leon Cooperman Writes "Open Letter to President Obama"". Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  39. ^ Franck, Thomas (2019-11-04). "'I care' — billionaire investor tears up talking about America, Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
  40. ^ Joe DePaolo (28 January 2020). "'BULLSH*T!' Hedge Fund Billionaire Leon Cooperman Rages Over GameStop Surge, Rips Small Investors for Having 'No Idea What They're Doing'". Mediaite. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  41. ^ Leon Cooperman on GameStop Reddit speculators: ‘I’m not damning them’ but it will ‘end in tears’, CNBC
  42. ^ Sanders, Bernie (January 29, 2021). "Oh look, another billionaire is mad that he might have to pay more taxes while children in America go hungry and veterans sleep on the street. Cry me a river. Yes. We will make Wall Street billionaires pay their fair share of taxes and create an economy that works for all of us". Twitter. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  43. ^ Lonas, Lexi (January 29, 2021). "Bernie Sanders claps back at billionaire's criticism: 'Cry me a river'". The Hill. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  44. ^ "Pledger List - The Giving Pledge". Giving Pledge. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  45. ^ "Zuckerberg and Icahn Join Buffett and Gates on Giving Pledge List". The New York Times. December 9, 2010.
  46. ^ "Raising Jews | Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ". jfedgmw.org. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  47. ^ Durgy, Edwin. ""Great Sense Of Gratitude" Inspires $25 Million Gift From Hedge Fund Billionaire To Alma Mater". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  48. ^ "Saint Barnabas Medical Center receives largest donation in its history". NJBiz. April 8, 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  49. ^ "Saint Barnabas Medical Center to be renamed following couple's $100 gift". . Oct 7, 2021.
  50. ^ a b Gara, Antoine. "Know When To Fold 'Em: Billionaire Leon Cooperman To Close Hedge Fund After Big Comeback". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  51. ^ "Cooperman College Scholars pledges support for nearly two dozen Essex County teens | News". news.tcnj.edu. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  52. ^ "Can $25 Million get 500 poor kids to and through college?". US News. October 1, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  53. ^ 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.
  54. ^ "Our Leadership | Damon Runyon". damonrunyon.org. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  55. ^ "Philanthropist's grant lifts spirits at Songs of Love". TimesLedger. Retrieved 2019-02-01.

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