Leon G. Cooperman, chairman and chief executive officer of Omega Advisors Inc.

Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Leon Cooperman on Wall Street and Philanthropy

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”
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This week on our Masters in Business radio podcast, we speak with Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors.

Cooperman earned his undergraduate degree from Hunter College. He almost became a dentist but instead decided to pursue an MBA at Columbia University, where he studied the methods of Graham and Dodd and deep-value investment.

After graduating in 1967, Cooperman began his career on Wall Street at Goldman Sachs, in the company's investment research department. He stayed 22 years, eventually running the unit. Institutional Investor selected him as the top portfolio strategist each year from 1977 to 1985.

He went on to start Goldman Sachs Asset Management, became the division's CIO and CEO, then chairman of its stock-selection committee and co-chairing the investment-policy committee.

Cooperman eventually left Goldman to create Omega Advisors -- now a $9.3 billion hedge fund. The company’s flagship fund has outperformed the S&P 500 by 450 basis points. The tax-sensitive fund, introduced in the early 2000s, has done even better.

Cooperman is an active philanthropist and has pledged to give away most of his wealth. He has endowed scholarship programs at Columbia and Hunter and was one of the first Americans to endow Israel’s Birthright program.

 The full podcast is now available on iTunesSoundCloud and on Bloomberg. Earlier podcasts can be found on iTunes and at BloombergView.com.

 Be sure to check out our conversation next week with David Kotok of Cumberland Advisors.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Barry L Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Alex Bruns at abruns@bloomberg.net