Sometimes it feels as though the name Warren Buffett is morphing into something like the legend of Bloody Mary - say his name three times in a column about investing and readers suddenly appear. It is very much worth mentioning, though, that Warren Buffett is simply one example of a successful investor and businessman. Granted, Mr. Buffett is an excellent example of a successful investor, but readers might be interested in considering the approaches and track records of other investors that have enjoyed considerable professional success, but do not necessarily get the same publicity as Warren Buffett. (This esteemed investor rarely changes his long-term investing strategy, no matter what the market does. See Warren Buffett's Bear Market Maneuvers.)

TUTORIAL: The Greatest Investors

George Soros
Perhaps it would have seemed impossible to imagine as he was living through World War II, but George Soros became one of the most successful investors in history. With a current net worth north of $14 billion, Soros is largely retired as an active investor. However, he established a remarkable record while running the Quantum Group of hedge funds.

Soros is mostly known for his successes in making large bets in the currency and commodity markets. The most famous success story of his career is most likely Britain's Black Wednesday currency crisis, where Soros correctly surmised that the country would have to devalue the pound and reportedly made around $1 billion on his positions.

Whereas Buffett is famous for carefully evaluating individual companies and holding those positions for years, Soros was much more inclined to base his investment decisions on what would be considered macroeconomic factors. What's more, investments in the currency and commodity markets do not lend themselves to multi-decade (or even multi-month) commitments, so Soros was a much more active investor. (George Soros spent decades as one of the world's elite investors, and even he didn't always come out on top. But when he did, it was spectacular. Check out George Soros: The Philosophy Of An Elite Investor.)

Ronald Perelman
Some will question whether Perelman is properly called an "investor." Though no one will dispute that a net worth of approximately $12 billion entitles him to be seen as a significant success in business, Pererlman's activities have centered on acquiring businesses outright, refocusing them on core competencies (often through spin-offs) and then either selling the companies later at a profit or holding onto them for the cashflow they produce. In that latter regard, though, Perelman is not so unlike Buffett - much of Buffett's success can be tied to the prudent acquisition of value-creating businesses within Berkshire Hathaway.

While Perelman has frequently faced criticism for his acquisition tactics and management decisions, he has nevertheless had many successful transactions, including his involvement in Marvel, New World Communications and several thrifts, savings and loans and banks.

John Paulson
With about $16 billion in net worth, John Paulson is arguably the most successful hedge fund investor today. What makes that even more impressive is that he founded Paulson & Co in 1994 with purportedly with only $2 million. Paulson really made his name during the credit crisis that marked the end of the housing bubble; reportedly shorting CDOs, mortgage backed securities and other tainted housing-related assets, as well as shorting the shares of several major British banks. Perhaps ironically, Paulson has benefited from both sides of that trade, having also taken long positions in companies like Regions Financial, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup.

Carl Icahn
In some respects, Carl Icahn follows an approach that is somewhat similar to Warren Buffett, as Icahn has built his fortune through a combination of equity investments and outright acquisitions. That is where the similarities end, though, as Icahn has generally pursued a much more aggressive strategy and shown no particular reticence to launch hostile offers. What's more, Icahn is not often interested in investing in business and seeing them continue to run as before; Icahn has built a reputation as a so-called activist investor who frequently pushes corporate managements to restructure, sell assets and return cash to shareholders.

Differences aside, Icahn's strategy has worked. Icahn has built a fortune reportedly worth in excess of $11 billion through his involvement in a range of companies including RJR Nabisco, Viacom and Time Warner. (Buying up failing investments and turning them around helped to create the "Icahn lift" phenomenon. To learn more, check out Carl Icahn's Investing Strategy.)

James Simons
If there is an "anti-Buffett" on this list, James Simons may be a good candidate. Holding a PhD in mathematics from Berkeley, Simons founded Renaissance Technologies and uses exceptionally complicated mathematical models to analyze and evaluate trading opportunities. While Buffett is famous for having a minimal staff, Renaissance Technologies reportedly employs dozens of PhDs in fields like physics, mathematics and statistics to find previously under-used correlations and connections that can be used for better trading results.

Or at least that is as much as is known about Renaissance Technologies - while Buffett is rather open about his investment philosophies and methodologies, Simons maintains a much lower profile. Nevertheless, this heavily quantitative approach seems to work. Mr. Simons is estimated to be worth nearly $11 billion and his funds have been so successful that they can charge outsized management fees and profit participation percentages to investors.

Others Worthy Of Note
Investors would also do well to consider the careers of other well-known investors like Jim Rogers, Mark Mobius, and Peter Lynch. While Mobius is the only one of the three still highly involved in day-to-day investment operators, all three men have become very closely associated with their particular investment philosophies. Rogers is a go-to commentator on commodities and macroeconomic investments, while Mobius may be the best known emerging-markets investor of all time.

Peter Lynch, though many years removed his tenure at Fidelity and his management of the Magellan fund, is still widely seen as a leading voice in "disciplined growth" investing. All three men have written about their investment philosophies and outlooks, and their approaches are accessible and informative. (For related reading, check Pick Stocks Like Peter Lynch.)

The Bottom Line
Investors should cast their eyes beyond Warren Buffett if they wish to really learn about all that investing can offer. There is no doubting or ignoring Buffett's exemplary record, but there is always more to learn by broadening the pool of examples. While investors like Simons and Soros may seem to focus on strategies and techniques that are beyond the means of regular investors, there are still valuable lessons to be learned about macroeconomics and the benefits of looking at the markets in new and proprietary ways.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Are Hedge Fund ETFs Suitable for Your Portfolio?

    Are hedge fund ETFs right for you? Here's what investors need to consider.
  2. Investing Basics

    How AQR Places Bets Against Beta

    Learn how the bet against beta strategy is used by a large hedge fund to profit from a pricing anomaly in the stock market caused by high stock prices.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Morgan Stanley's Profitablity: Bank on It (MS)

    The economy offers few certainties, but Morgan Stanley's profitability might be one of them.
  4. Investing Basics

    Warren Buffett Biography

    Warren Buffett is probably one of the top investors in the world.
  5. Budgeting

    The Millennial’s Guide to Personal Finance

    It's a Millennial money minefield out there! Navigate it with these money management tips.
  6. Investing Basics

    Explaining the High-Water Mark

    A high-water mark ensures fund managers are not paid performance fees when they perform poorly.
  7. Professionals

    State Street Shifts to Hedge Funds

    ETF pioneer State Street has been losing market share to its peers. Here's how it plans to turn that around.
  8. Professionals

    Career Advice: Management Consulting Vs. Hedge Fund

    Compare careers in management consulting and hedge funds using criteria such as skills needed, educational requirements, salaries and work-life balance.
  9. Personal Finance

    Sending Money: MoneyGram vs. Western Union

    Comparing the differences between the services – and the fees.
  10. Investing Basics

    5 Tips For Investing In IPOs

    It’s not easy to profit from IPO​s, but the money is there.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Hunting Elephants

    The practice of targeting large companies or customers.
  2. Tactical Trading

    A style of investing for the relatively short term based on anticipated ...
  3. Maximum Drawdown (MDD)

    The maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before ...
  4. Gross Exposure

    The absolute level of a fund's investments.
  5. Hedge Fund

    An aggressively managed portfolio of investments that uses leveraged, ...
  6. Return Over Maximum Drawdown (RoMaD)

    Return over Maximum Drawdown (RoMaD) is a risk-adjusted return ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the 12b-1 fee meant to cover?

    A 12b-1 fee in a mutual fund is meant to cover the fees of companies and individuals through which investors of a fund buy ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Which federal regulatory agencies approved and are now responsible for enforcing ...

    Five federal regulatory agencies approved and are jointly responsible for enforcing the Volcker rule. These agencies include ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the purpose of the Volcker Rule?

    The Volcker rule limits two main types of activities by large institutional banks. Banks are prohibited from engaging in ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What types of positions might a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) hold?

    The types of positions that a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is likely to hold include any position that deals with large ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the biggest risks associated with covered interest arbitrage?

    Covered interest arbitrage is when an investor buys into foreign currency that has an interest rate that will yield the investor ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What does a high information ratio tell an investor about a mutual fund?

    A high information ratio tells an investor that the sustained performance of a mutual fund's active manager is high and that ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!