Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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Wilbur Ross $2.97B

Random fact: Grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey. His father was a judge.

Overview

Ross is CEO of WL Ross, a private equity company he started in 1997 and sold to Invesco in 2006. A value-focused investor, Ross has led investments into 178 companies and drawn capital of $11.9 billion. He's perhaps best known for aggregating and reviving U.S. steel and coal companies in the 2000s with deals that made billions of dollars in profits.

As of Oct. 21, 2017:
Last change +$186M (+0.2%)
YTD change +$3.19B (+3.9%)
Industry Technology
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship United States
Age 61
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Wilbur Ross's net worth of $2.97B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Ross's fortune stems from the profits he's made as a turnaround specialist. Much of his money is derived from the profits of five WLR Recovery funds he began forming in 1997. Ross has led investments into 178 companies and drawn capital of $11.9 billion, according to the W.L. Ross and Co. website, as of November 2016. He sold his WL Ross and Co. To Invesco in 2006 for $375 million.

Ross holds the vast majority of his his wealth - more than $2.5 billion - in a mix of stocks, municipal bonds and cash, according to a Bloomberg analysis and a financial disclosure dated Jan. 15, 2017 that discloses dollar ranges and minimums of assets held. Recovery funds have probably generated about $900 million of this, based on private equity performance data compiled by Bloomberg.

The balance was accumulated during five decades on Wall Street, including profits from Faulkner, Dawkins and Sullivan, a brokerage of which he was part owner that was sold to Shearson for $6 million in 1977, as well as profits, salaries and bonuses Ross earned since then from Rothschild, WL Ross and Invesco. The payment from Invesco was over five years beginning in 2006. Taxes and market performance are applied.

The billionaire's art collection is valued at $250 million based on a 2014 valuation of his Rene Magritte collection at $125 million and Ross's disclosure to Bloomberg that that the Magritte collection has increased in size and that he owns a series of works by other artists.

Ross also owns properties in Manhattan, Sag Harbor and Southampton, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida that are valued on individual municipal assessor market value judgments for 2016. For properties where municipal records aren't available, purchase or list price is used.

Ross declined to comment on his net worth amount. The investor provided details on overlooked assets or those he said were under valued by the analysis in e-mails with Bloomberg. Those comments were incorporated in November 2016.

Biography

Birthdate: 11/28/1937
Family: Married, No children
Education: Harvard Business School

Wilbur Ross was born in 1937 and grew up in North Bergen, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City. His father, Wilbur L. Ross, Sr. Was a judge and commissioner of revenue and finance in North Bergen. His mother, Agnes, taught third grade in North Bergen and was a county committeewoman for 45 years, according to her 2010 obituary on the O'Brien Funeral Home website on November 2016.

Ross attended Jesuit-run Xavier High School in Manhattan, where he lost part of his hearing as a member of the school's rifle team, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek Jan. 5, 2012 profile of the billionaire. He graduated from Yale College in 1959 and received his MBA at Harvard Business School in 1961.

The billionaire entered Wall Street, becoming a partner in brokerage Faulkner, Dawkins and Sullivan, which was sold to Shearson in 1977, according to a New York Times obituary for firm executive Dwight Faulkner of Aug. 12, 1986. Ross joined Rothschild, a boutique investment bank where he created a niche as a bankruptcy advisor, representing bondholders in bankruptcies by companies run by Donald Trump and T. Boone Pickens, according to the Bloomberg Businessweek profile.

Bothered by the fact clients were making far more money from his ideas than he was, Ross started WL Ross and Co., a distressed investing firm, and acquired Rothschild's private equity business in 2000. Over the next 6 years, Ross would lead entries and exits of U.S. steel companies, textile makers and miners. He then sold WL Ross to Invesco in 2006 and continued to run it as a division of the fund company. In the aftermath of the 2009 financial crisis, Ross led investments in the Bank of Ireland, U.K.'s Virgin Money and a series of domestic U.S. banks.

Ross is a nominee to be Secretary of Commerce in the presidential cabinet of Donald Trump.

The billionaire is twice divorced and lives with his third wife, Hilary, in Palm Beach, Florida, and New York. He is known in the art collecting world for a large collection of surrealist Rene Magritte works.

Milestones
  • 1937 Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. is born.
  • 1959 Graduates from Yale College.
  • 1961 Receives MBA from Harvard Business School
  • 1997 Leaves Rothschild to form WL Ross & Co.
  • 2000 WL Ross & Co. purchases Rothschild's private equity interests
  • 2005 Sells steel business for $4.5 billion, of which $2.5 billion is profit.
  • 2014 Exits Bank of Ireland investment with $678 million profit.
  • 2016 Advises Donald Trump during presidential campaign.