Forex traders try to leverage the largest market in the world to generate big profits. However, many of them, especially newcomers, fail sooner or later due to a lack of experience and perseverance. Still, there is no profit-making activity that doesn’t require effort, skills, and dedication. In the following article, you’ll discover who the richest forex traders in the world are – the ones who overcame failures and became role models.
Bill Lipschutz, born in 1956 in New York, is one of the most successful forex traders. He always excelled at mathematics. In 1982, he earned an MBA in finance from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management.
Before graduating in finance, Lipschutz used his $12,000 that he had inherited after his grandmother’s death to invest in the stock market. He managed to generate over $250,000 in profits in only a few months. However, the young investor eventually made some wrong decisions by exposing himself to higher risks. The result was the loss of his capital.
Lipschutz then switched to the foreign exchange market as he considered it more stable. Salomon Brothers bank hired him in 1982 as a full-time forex trader. Lipschutz gained a reputation as one of the top five forex traders in the world. In only three years, he used to generate about $300 million per year for Salomon Brothers.
After ascending in Salomon’s hierarchy, Lipschutz left the bank in 1990. In 1991, he founded Rowayton Capital Management – an asset management firm focused on currency-related assets. He left the company in 1995 and founded Hathersage Capital Management, which specialized in G10 currencies. The trader has led the Portfolio Management unit since the company’s founding.
Unfortunately, Lipschutz’s net worth is unknown. What we do know is that he generated hundreds of millions per year for Salomon Brothers before 1990. His company, Hathersage Capital Management, won the Best Macro Hedge Fund award at the 2018 Hedgeweek USA Awards event. Based on this information, we can suppose that he has an eight-figure net worth.
Joe Lewis, full name Joseph C. Lewis, was born in London, UK, in 1937. Now he lives in the Bahamas. He is a businessman and investor. Unlike George Soros and other names on this list, Lewis has devoted most of his time to forex trading, even though he holds other asset types as well.
Lewis left school at 15 to join his father in running Tavistock Banqueting, a catering business located in the West End of London. He expanded the business very quickly, but then sold it in 1979 to focus on currency trading. This led to his move to the Bahamas, where he now lives as a tax exile.
Besides forex trading, Lewis invests in hundreds of companies across ten countries through Tavistock Group, a private investment organization. The Bahamas-based company owns either a majority of or controlling stakes in businesses across various industries. These include sports and media (it owns football club Tottenham Hotspur via ENIC Group), finance, restaurants, manufacturing, energy, resort properties, and more.
In 1992, Lewis collaborated with George Soros to build a short position against the sterling pound, which devalued the British currency and forced the government to withdraw it from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). Some suggest that Lewis made even more than Soros himself from that deal. If this is true, then the Tavistock owner generated about $1.8 billion in a single day.
Lewis conducts his forex trading operations from his Bahamas mansion. He has forex trading screens in almost every room. The investor is quite secretive and doesn’t like to talk to people. He said in a rare interview: “One of the rewards of your success is the quiet enjoyment of it. Being on the front page of newspapers doesn’t allow that.”
Forbes reported Lewis’ highest net worth in March 2017. They estimated his wealth at $5.6 billion. Today, Forbes estimates his net worth at $4.6 billion, which puts him on the 375th place in the Forbes 2020 list.
Stanley Druckenmiller, born in 1953, is an American hedge fund manager and philanthropist. He received a bachelor’s degree in English and economics from Bowdoin College. He was about to receive a Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Michigan, but dropped out to work as an oil analyst at Pittsburg National Bank.
After about four years at the bank, he established his own investment firm called Duquesne Capital Management.
In 1988, George Soros hired Druckenmiller as a lead portfolio manager at the Quantum Fund. In 1992, he and Soros “broke the Bank of England” when they bet against the sterling pound. As a result, the British government failed to keep it above the lower forex exchange limit required by the ERM. As mentioned before, this is what led to them withdrawing the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Soros figured out that Britain’s central bank didn’t have enough forex reserves to buy sterling to boost its value. On the flip side, raising interest rates was not feasible either.
Druckenmiller left Soros after more than a decade of collaboration after incurring losses during the dot-com crisis in 2000. Since then, he mainly focused on Duquesne Capital. However, ten years later, he had to close the fund because he couldn’t deliver high returns to his clients. Duquesne Capital had more than $12 billion in assets at the time.
He told Bloomberg: “For 30 years I’ve been responsible for managing client money and it’s been a joy, but at some point I need to move on. Thirty years is enough.”
After returning Duquesne’s funds to clients, Druckenmiller created a family office to manage his wealth. He now personally manages a great chunk of his own fortune.
Forbes reported Druckenmiller’s highest net worth in 2018 at $4.8 billion. Today, the magazine estimates his fortune at $4.7 billion. This is a 67% increase from when he closed Duquesne back in 2010. At the time of writing, Druckenmiller is the 361st richest man in the world.
Paul Tudor Jones
Paul Tudor Jones II is an American hedge fund manager and philanthropist. Forex traders appreciate him for being one of the wealthiest day traders. Unlike Joe Lewis or George Soros, who also focus on other non-forex assets and often prefer position trading, Jones likes to bet on currency pairs and fluctuations in interest rates.
Jones, born in 1954, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia. He was accepted at Harvard Business School, but turned it down to work as a commodities trader at the New York Cotton Exchange (NYCE).
After graduating, Jones asked his cousin William Dunavant to share his trading experience. Dunavant owned one of the largest cotton merchants in the world. He introduced Jones to Eli Tullis, who was among the largest cotton traders. Eventually, Tullis fired Jones for falling asleep while at work. Nevertheless, Jones managed to succeed and became the chairman of the NYCE many years later.
In 1980, the trader established his own investment company known as the Tudor Investment Corporation. Initially, it generated double-digit returns for many years, but then lost momentum and refocused on new quantitative trading strategies. The company still manages about $7 billion in assets today.
One of the main reasons why Jones’ annual returns started to decline in the last decade is because central banks cut interest rates closer to zero. At the same time, the increasing competition forced him to consider a more conservative approach.
Interestingly, Jones became very serious about his mental stops. If the price touches that level, he exits the position no matter what. He also uses time stops.
While his investment company doesn’t perform as well as before the 2000s, Jones has a net worth of $5.3 billion as of April 2020, which is the highest figure so far. This makes him the 320th richest person in the world today.
George Soros is the richest forex trader in the world and the top of this list. In fact, you might have spotted a few spoilers in earlier mentions.
Born Schwartz György in 1930 in Hungary, he migrated to the UK in 1947. He studied at the London School of Economics and graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in philosophy.
Soros is a hedge fund manager and philanthropist. While he doesn’t invest in currency pairs alone, the foreign exchange market has played a key role in his career. He started by building his own hedge fund in 1969, after several years of trading European stocks for clients in New York. Today we call it the Quantum Fund.
Soros is infamous as the man who broke the Bank of England. In September 1992, he built an enormous short position in pounds, effectively betting against the British currency. He ended up with more than $1 billion in net profits. Generating such a fortune in a single day was unprecedented.
The investor’s move caused the UK government to withdraw the pound from the European ERM. Up until that point, the sterling’s rate was artificially maintained close to the Deutsche Mark (DM – Germany’s national currency before the euro), with the minimum rate set at DM 2.773. However, Soros considered the minimum rate too high and bet against the pound.
As a rule, forex traders’ decision making depends on market events. Interestingly, Soros’ 10 billion pound trade was one of the very few instances when a trader’s decision making actually shaped the market. The UK’s ruling Conservative Party lost credibility and didn’t return to power until 2010 including because of that move.
Soros’ net worth was at its height in March 2017. Forbes estimated his holdings at $25.2 billion. He was the 19th richest person at the time.
Today, people estimate his net worth at $8.3 billion. As of 2020, Soros ranks 162nd on the Forbes list of richest individuals. The figure is still impressive considering that he transferred about $20 billion to his Open Society Foundations for philanthropy.
Other Rich Traders Who Deserve Special Mention
You may think that the forex market is unfair given that three of the top five richest investors are connected with each other via George Soros. However, despite their dominance, there are many traders that succeed in this diverse market. Here are some other names that would make for a wider list of richest forex traders in the world:
Bruce Stanley Kovner is a very successful American hedge fund manager and philanthropist. In fact, out of all the people mentioned in this article, only George Soros is richer. However, we didn’t include him in our top 5 because his portfolio is diverse and doesn’t necessarily rely on currency pairs. In spite of that, forex-related assets still play a key role in his income.
Kovner is currently the chairman of CAM Capital. He founded the company in 2012 to manage his investment and business activities. Up until 2011, he acted as chairman of Caxton Associates, a diversified trading firm that he founded in 1983.
Kovner studied political economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, though he didn’t finish his Ph.D. When working as a cab driver, he discovered commodities trading. He made the first trade in 1977, investing $3,000 of borrowed money in soybean futures. Initially, the contract went up to $40,000 but then fell to $23,000 at which point Kovner sold it.
His career skyrocketed when he worked as a trader at the Commodities Corporation, where he made millions.
Forbes reported Kovner’s highest net worth figure at $5.5 billion in 2017. Today, his holdings are worth $5.3 billion, making him the 320th richest person in the world.
Martin Schwartz is a very talented American trader, though apparently, he is not a billionaire. Born in 1945, he became widely popular for winning the US Investing Championships in 1984 by trading forex pairs, stocks, and options.
In 1967, Schwartz graduated with a degree from Amherst College. Three years later, he received an MBA from Columbia University.
At the beginning of his financial career, he worked as a financial analyst at E.F. Hutton, accumulating $100,000. He left the company to buy a seat on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), currently known as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and trade stock futures and options. He gained $1.2 million in his first two years at AMEX.
In 1985, Schwartz founded his own fund to manage his clients’ money. He wrote a book titled “Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street’s Champion Day Trader.”
Besides trading, Schwartz owns many champion horses that won several important races, including Meadowlands Cup, Prix de Diane, Coronation Stakes, Prix Vermeille, and Prix Vanteux, among others.
Unfortunately, Schwartz’s net worth is unknown as of today, but it certainly ranges between dozens of millions and hundreds of millions of US dollars.
Andrew Krieger is known as one of the most aggressive forex traders. He graduated from the Wharton School of Business and was hired by the Bankers Trust in 1986. Krieger impressed the company’s top management so much that they increased his trading limit to $700 million while the regular limit was $50 million.
In 1987, when most stock markets unexpectedly experienced double-digit losses, Krieger found that the New Zealand dollar (NZD) was overvalued and bet against it. His short position against the New Zealand currency was so big that its size exceeded the value of NZD’s total supply. Eventually, the kiwi fell against the US dollar, and Krieger made over $300 million for his firm.
Shortly after that huge deal, Krieger left Bankers Trust apparently because he received only 1% of the massive profit and was not satisfied. Bankers Trust’s forex division eventually failed without Krieger, and in less than ten years, Deutsche Bank absorbed the whole company.
As for Krieger, he went on to work at Soros Fund Management. Krieger’s trade against the NZD is often compared to Soros’ bet against the sterling.
Krieger’s net worth is unknown at the moment. However, given his unique talent, the chances are that his fortune is worth hundreds of millions.
Anyone can easily learn & understand the basics of forex trading. However, it requires a lot of effort and skills to become a successful trader. Forex trading is very much like playing tennis – many many participants compete for years, but only a few make it to the top.
However, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Unlike sports competitions, forex trading is more about the intellectual effort rather than the physical one. The important thing is to make strict discipline a priority and follow the basic risk management rules.
One of the shortest paths to becoming a professional trader is to pass the Gauntlet Mini test. You can choose an account with up to $150,000 in virtual money and trade for 15 days by following specific rules. If you make it, you’ll be eligible to trade a live funded trading account and increase your potential for success.
If you want to learn more about Forex and understand everything there is to know about it, you can take forex trading courses and get to know the best courses in the market.