John Paulson is an American hedge fund manager and investor, best known as the founder of the New York-based investment firm ‘Paulson & Co.’ He had inherited business acumen from his father, who worked as the CFO of a local firm ‘Ruder Finn.’ Following his high school graduation, John began his import-export business, but the venture failed. He enrolled at ‘New York University’ to study business. He later resumed studies at the ‘Harvard Business School,’ from where he earned his MBA. In 1980, he began working as a consultant at ‘Boston Consulting Group.’ He later worked in the mergers and acquisitions departments of a few companies, before setting-up his own investment company, ‘Paulson & Co.’ in 1994. In 2010, he set a hedge fund record by making $5 billion in a single year.
Childhood & Early Life
John Paulson was born John Alfred Paulson, on December 14, 1955, in Queens, New York, to Alfred G. Paulson (born Alfredo Guillermo Paulsen) and Jacqueline. He was the third of the four children of his parents. His father had Ecuadorian, while his mother had European-Jewish ancestry. He grew up with his older sister, Theodora, who presently lives in Israel and works as a biologist.
The family lived in Queens, New York City, and the kids attended local public schools. John excelled in academics since the beginning of his formal education. He followed the footsteps of his father and showed keen business sense.
His father was orphaned at the age of fifteen, and moved to Los Angeles, USA, at the age of sixteen. Starting with the US Army, Alfredo later became the CFO at public relations firm 'Ruder Finn.'
John began set up his own business, but sometime later realized that he was still not ready for it, and decide to resume his education. He enrolled at ‘New York University’ to study business.
He graduated in 1978 with valedictorian from the university.
He received a scholarship to study MBA at ‘Harvard Business School’ and passed his MBA as a George F. Baker scholar in 1980.
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Before embarking on further studies, he moved to Ecuador to begin his first business enterprise. He set up an import-export business in Quito, and began exporting children’s clothes to New York. He worked hard only to realize that the business was not as profitable as he had assumed, so he moved back to New York City and resumed his college education.
Following his post-graduation from ‘Harvard,’ he began working as a consultant in ‘Boston Consulting Group.’ He worked there for a few years, before realising that the real money was in the ‘Wall Street.’ He left ‘Boston Consulting Group’ and joined ‘Odyssey Partners.’ He later joined ‘Bear Stearns,’ working in the acquisitions and mergers department of the company. He also worked for a while at the ‘Gruss Partners LP,’ where he later became a partner.
He gained sufficient experience working at different companies throughout the 1980s, and by the early 1990s he was ready to start his own venture.
In 1994, he started ‘Paulson & Co.’ with a capital of $2 million and a single employee. The capital was very small considering the investment business that he was entering into. He set up his office in Manhattan.
John worked hard and within a decade, he managed to make assets worth $300 million. His company specialised in the event driven investments (mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, proxy contests, etc) and brought him huge profits over the years.
John and his company reached the absolute pinnacle in 2007 and invested in credit default swaps, when he foresaw the upcoming subprime mortgage crisis. He bet against mortgage-backed securities and shorted the US housing market. This deal alone earned John a fortune, and in that one year he earned more than $4 billion. It is known as one of the most profitable deals in the history of the United States.
In 2010, he made a staggering $5 billion in a single year in hedge funds.
He suffered losses on several occasions as well. Some of his loss-making investments were made in the Bank of America, Citigroup and Sino-Forest Corporation in the early 2010s. ’Paulson Advantage Fund,’ the flagship fund of the company also went down in the early 2010s.
John is known to have made profits in gold investments.
He has remained one of the most successful investors in the history of ‘Wall Street.’
John has donated to both the ‘Democratic’ and ‘Republican Party.’
He has been a supporter of President Donald Trump, and has served as one of his top economic advisors during his 2016 ‘Presidential Campaign.’
He has also donated millions of dollars to charitable institutions. In the early 2010s, he donated $15 million to ‘Center for Responsible Lending.’ He has further donated millions to ‘New York University’s Stern School of Business,’ ‘Southampton Hospital,’ and the ‘London School of Economics.’
In 2012, he donated $100 million to the ‘Central Park Conservancy,’ the NGO that takes care of New York’s famous ‘Central Park.’ In 2015, he donated $400 million to ‘Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.’
Family & Personal Life
John Paulson married Jenny Zaharia in 2000. The couple has two daughters. The family lives in the Upper East Side, in Manhattan, New York.
John avoids media attention and gives interviews very rarely. He also avoids social media and leads a low-profile life.