John Paulson is the American financier who became one of the largest holders of mortgage bonds during the subprime crisis in 2007. Paulson bet against the market and made billions in losses when it collapsed and has continued to profit from other high-risk investments like investment banking, private equity, commodities trading, and credit default swaps. He was born on April 3, 1954, in Philadelphia as John Paulson Jr., son of a grocery store owner.
John Paulson is best known for having made $15 billion in 2008 by shorting the subprime mortgage market, an event that led to a global financial crisis. In June 2010, Paulson and Co. were reported to have earned up to $5.5 billion in profits from its investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after the Treasury stepped in to rescue the two companies from bankruptcy earlier that year.
In addition to his position as chairman and chief investment officer of Paulson & Co. Inc., headquartered on New York’s Upper East Side, Paulson also has offices in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. In January 2011, he was reported to have amassed a significant stake in Apple Inc.
Paulson also invests in cryptocurrencies and has revealed his plans to invest $250 million into cryptocurrencies in April 2017. “As a shareholder of an early stage company that was involved in the development of blockchain technology, I felt compelled to get involved,” Paulson said back then.
John Paulson has achieved significant personal wealth through his investments in short-selling. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he helped diversify a considerable loss of Wachovia Group, a bank that had too much exposure to subprime mortgages. While the bank was reeling from a nearly $9 billion loss, Paulson took part in a $10 billion merger to create Citigroup Inc., which would suffer huge losses after the financial crisis.
As of 2017, Paulson has amassed an estimated net worth of about $4.3 billion. Paulson also established the Paulson Foundation in 2006, a private foundation under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code. It was established to support organizations that improve the lives of those living in poverty, those who are disadvantaged or living with disabilities or promote greater youth involvement in civic life through educational activities and participation.