They have helped move security prices, influenced the strategies of market participants, and played a role in determining the structure and functioning of markets.
With stocks and bonds both plunging in 2022, it’s been a tough year for investors. Amid the bear market, some investors’ trades and moves stood out. There are 10 investors on MarketWatch’s 50 list of the most influential people in the markets. They have helped move the prices of securities, commodities, currencies or illiquid assets, and have influenced the behavior and strategies of market participants. Some have even played a role in determining how markets are structured, regulated and operate. Here are the most influential investors in these markets:
A pioneer in software buyouts, Orlando Bravo leads Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm with $122 billion in assets under management and some of the best returns in the industry. In 2022, Thoma Bravo was involved in some of the biggest software deals, buying Anaplan for $10.7 billion and Sailpoint Technologies for $6.9 billion, while selling Frontline Education for $3.7 billion. He also signed deals to buy ForgeRock for $2.3 billion and UserTesting for $1.3 billion. Bravo guided his company through the cryptocurrency arena and was a public bull until he suspended his company’s crypto investments in the fall of 2022.
At the start of 2022, Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global managed over $100 billion in hedge funds, long-only funds and venture capital vehicles. Known for his tech investments, Coleman was Wall Street’s hottest investor and many others tried to copy his success by emulating his tech stock picks, fueling them higher. But in the first five months of the year, Coleman’s liquid funds lost nearly $20 billion, according to analysis by LCH Investments, wiping out three-quarters of the gains Coleman had made for his hedge fund investors since then. the launch of Tiger Global in 2001. Coleman’s trading losses impacted stocks he helped popularize, such as Carvana (CVNA), Roblox (RBLX) and Peloton Interactive (PTON), all of which plunged further in value when he sold them. Coleman’s venture capital investments also began posting losses on paper, upsetting the balance of the vast venture capital market.
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Thasunda Brown Duckett leads the $1.2 trillion Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, which wields enormous influence both in markets generally and in the retirement situations of more than 5 million customers . She guided the provider of pension and investment funds for nonprofit employees and their families to pay out $6.4 billion to retirees last year and increase those payments by 5% for incumbents of his master plan for 2022. Duckett pushed Washington to move to proposals that can close the retirement savings gap faced by 100 million Americans, including many people of color.
There is perhaps no greater force in stock markets today than the rise of passive investing, and Larry Fink’s BlackRock championed this massive structural change in the market. With $8 trillion in assets under management, BlackRock (BLK) is the world’s largest asset manager and has led the rush into passive exchange-traded funds. BlackRock is often one of the largest shareholders in a given US public company, giving the company broad influence over what happens in US business. Fink also pivoted BlackRock towards ESG investing, launching dozens of ESG-oriented mutual funds and ETFs, making Fink one of the most powerful ESG evangelists. This plunged Fink into the middle of an emerging debate over ESG and the country’s culture wars.
Last year, a small investment firm beat the board of directors of ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company. Engine No. 1 turned a $40 million investment into three ExxonMobil (XOM) board seats by demanding the giant corporation implement a strong clean energy strategy and winning a shareholder vote . Jennifer Grancio, CEO of Engine No.1, continues to drive the sustainability-focused investment firm forward as it strives to expand the ESG movement, which is changing the relationship between investors and companies and has impacting the way the biggest corporations do business by reshaping the duties of their boards of directors.
Ken Griffin founded and built Citadel Securities into the world’s largest algorithmic market maker, involved in trading one in four stocks that change hands in the United States every day. Citadel Securities executes 35% of all US listed retail volume and is also a major liquidity provider on US options exchanges. Griffin is also CEO of one of the most influential multi-manager hedge fund firms, Citadel, which oversees some $50 billion. Its flagship hedge fund returned about 29% in the first nine months of the year as markets tumbled. In 2022, Lloyd Blankfein, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, suggested that Griffin was the Michael Jordan of Wall Street. “The companies he’s built, my goodness, are breathtaking,” legendary billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones said earlier this year. Griffin is preparing for a recession that will hit the United States in 2023.
At 48, Greg Jensen was very right in this market. The macro investor was early to see the rise in inflation and its implications, including a rapid rise in bond yields. With Ray Dalio relinquishing control of the company he started in October, Jensen is now one of two co-chief investment officers at the world’s largest hedge fund firm, and given his youth, he is poised to play an important role in the markets for years. In addition to Bridgewater Associate’s $150 billion in assets, Jensen is a regular contributor to the firm’s Daily Observations newsletter, which is read extensively by some of the world’s most prominent institutional investors and policymakers. He has expanded his reach this year by increasing his public appearances. Bridgewater’s results have been good – its largest hedge fund rose 34.6% in the first nine months of 2022 – but not perfect. His passive product All Weather collapsed.
Abigail Johnson has steered Fidelity to meet new demands from individual investors and emerging investment areas like cryptocurrencies. It has reinvigorated the financial giant which manages mutual funds and other vehicles, and administers the money of clients of other brokers. Fidelity now oversees $10 trillion in assets under administration, double since Johnson became CEO in 2014. Fidelity is once again a market driver. It added millions of new customers between the ages of 18 and 35, and Johnson is now pushing to add cryptocurrencies to 401(k) plans.
Without fanfare, Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi leads Global Infrastructure Partners, the country’s largest infrastructure private equity firm, with $84 billion in assets under management. He is also lead director of Goldman Sachs (GS), Wall Street’s largest investment bank. GIP has major airports like Gatwick and Edinburgh; Hornsea One, the largest offshore wind farm in the world; and major energy assets like the Hess Midstream Partners shale oil and gas joint venture. In August, President Biden appointed Ogunlesi to head his National Infrastructure Advisory Council.
In 2022, Cathie Wood’s flagship ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund fell around 60% and short sellers successfully bet against stocks she had large positions in, such as Teladoc Health (TDOC) and Roku ( ROKU). The fund’s assets have grown from $28 billion to $8 billion. But Wood remained an icon for retail investors and others who believed in his unwavering enthusiasm for stocks that represented new technological innovation. Even as the Nasdaq plunged, Wood continued to champion disruptive innovation and the idea that private markets value these trends better than public stocks. As its performance tumbled, investors pumped an additional $1.4 billion into ARK’s Innovation ETF in the first nine months of 2022 and Wood continued to rally his many investors to bet on speculative tech companies . Wood even launched a venture capital fund in September that exceptionally targeted retail investors with a minimum investment of just $500.
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