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#106 Luis Sarmiento $12.2B

Random fact: Waged seven-year battle to take over Banco de Bogota in 1980s.


Sarmiento is the chairman and founder of Grupo Aval, Colombia's largest banking group. The Bogota-based company had about $75 billion in assets at the end of 2016. He also owns two insurance providers operating under the Alfa brand, as well as newspaper El Tiempo and real estate developer Construcciones Planificadas.

As of July 24, 2017:
Last change -$81.4M (-0.7%)
YTD change +$912M (+8.1%)
Industry Finance
Biggest asset AVAL CB Equity
Citizenship Colombia
Age 84
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Luis Sarmiento's net worth of $12.2B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Sarmiento's fortune is derived from his stake in Grupo Aval, Colombia's largest banking group, according to the company website. The billionaire controls 97 percent of the company's voting shares and 44 percent of its preferred shares, according to the group's 2016 annual report. He also owns smaller outside stakes in the four traded banks controlled by Aval: Banco AV Villas, Banco de Occidente, Banco de Bogota and Banco Popular.

His two insurance companies, which operate under the Alfa moniker, had combined net income of about $49 million on equity of $420 million in 2016, according to the financial results published on their website. The businesses are valued using the average price-to-book and price-to-earnings multiples of three Latin American peer companies: Brazil's Porto Seguro, Chile's Prevision Vida and Peru's Rimac.

He owns newspaper El Tiempo, which reported revenue of $158 million in 2015, according to results published by Colombia's company registry. It's value is based on the average enterprise value-to-sales, enterprise value-Ebitda and price-to-earnings multiples of five emerging-market peers: Peru's Empresa Editora El Comercio, India's Jagran Prakashan, Turkey's Hurriyet Gazetecilik ve Matbaacilik, South Africa's Caxton and CTP and Malaysia's Star Publications.

Commercial real estate developer Construcciones Planificadas reported $8 million of revenue in 2015 and is valued based on the average price-to-earnings and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiples of two Latin American peers: Brazil's Sao Carlos Empreendimentos and Chile's Parque Arauco.

The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, reinvestments and market performance. He also has about $550 million in properties mostly in Bogota, according to a statement from his office.


Birthdate: 1/27/1933
Family: Married, 5 children
Education: National University of Colombia, Bachelor's Degree

The second-youngest of nine children, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo studied engineering at Bogota's National University. He started his own construction firm in 1956 and amassed a small fortune building roads and housing projects. He expanded into finance in 1971 when he acquired the ailing lender Banco de Occidente and founded insurance company Seguros Alfa.

He continued to build his financial empire over the decades that followed, both by starting his own firms (pension fund Porvenir, lender Corporación de Ahorro y Vivienda Las Villas) and by acquiring others (Banco de Bogota, Banco Popular). In 1998, he united most of his financial interests under a new holding company, Grupo Aval, which held an IPO the following year.

Through Corficolombiana, Aval's investment bank, Sarmiento owns an array of interests in infrastructure, agribusiness, energy and tourism. He also maintains a real estate business, Construcciones Planificadas. The company oversaw the 2010 construction of Colombia's biggest mall, Bogota's Centro Mayor, and is building a 6.5 million square-foot office complex near the city's airport -- the Ciudad Empresarial Sarmiento Angulo.

Sarmiento remains Aval's chairman after naming his only son, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutierrez, CEO in 2000.

  • 1933 Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo is born in Bogota.
  • 1948 Receives engineering degree from Colombia's National University.
  • 1959 Starts Organizacion Luis Carlos Sarmiento construction company.
  • 1972 Buys Banco de Occidente.
  • 1981 Buys stake in Banco de Bogota, sparking battle with owner.
  • 1988 Completes hostile takeover of Banco de Bogota.
  • 1998 Creates Grupo Aval holding company to unite most of his banks.
  • 1999 Holds initial public offering of Grupo Aval in Bogota.
  • 2000 Names son Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutierrez as Aval's CEO.
  • 2012 Takes over the Colombian daily newspaper El Tiempo.