John Paulson is a self-made billionaire who made his fortune by betting against the U.S. Housing Market in 2007 and 2008, which he did by purchasing credit default swaps on home loans, mortgage-backed securities, and eventually subprime mortgages.
- Paulson is the founder of Paulson & Co., a New York-based hedge fund firm that manages approximately $19 billion. He is also on the board of trustees of the John Paulson Foundation, set up to make grants to charities and non-profit organizations supporting New York City community health and education initiatives.
- Paulson graduated first in his class from Harvard Business School, where he received an MBA degree. He then worked at Bear Stearns before leaving to start his hedge fund in 1994 with former Bear Stearns colleague Bennett Goodman. The pair eventually left Bear Stearns after being passed over for partnership and started their firm, which initially had about $4 million in the capital. Paulson & Co. now employs over 450 people and has offices in New York City, Hong Kong, London, Singapore, and Tokyo.
- Paulson has seen his fortune rise from $4 million to $15 billion in the last few years, making him one of the wealthiest people on the planet (Forbes lists his net worth as $14 billion). His company made more than $20 billion in profits betting against subprime mortgages over the last three years. In 2007 he bet against U.S. subprime mortgages and bought non-performing loans already owned by another firm called The Mortgage Bankers Assoc. He made $1.1 billion in profits in 2008, his best year.
- Paulson is the chairman of Paulson & Co., which provides institutional and private investors with various products, including high-quality investments and investment strategies backed by asset management experience. The company employs 450 people, including 150 traders (many of which are former Wall Street veterans) who cover physical assets such as oil, gold, government debt, and currencies such as the Euro and the Dollar; mortgage-backed securities; loans, and other investments including commercial real estate.
- In 2005, Paulson donated $10 million to New York University through the John Paulson Foundation and has made several other contributions to charities such as the Boys and Girls Club of New York City, St. John Fisher College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School and Boston University.