Leon Levy

Leon Levy (September 13, 1925 – April 6, 2003) was, according to Forbes magazine, a "Wall Street investment genius and prolific philanthropist," who helped create both mutual funds and hedge funds.

Levy attended Townsend Harris High School and studied psychology at City College of New York. After serving in the U.S. Army, he began working as a research analyst. He was strongly influenced in his business approach by his father, Jerome Levy, an economist and business executive who emphasized the role corporate profits play in charting the economy's direction.

In 1956 he became a partner of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc, then in 1959, Levy co-founded the Oppenheimer mutual funds. There he started dozens of mutual funds that, at his death, had grown to manage more than $120 billion. In 1982, he sold both companies to the U.K.'s Mercantile House for $162 million and co-founded Odyssey Partners, a private investment partnership. It grew to be a $3 billion hedge fund before it was dissolved in 1997.

Levy's financial philosophy stressed common sense and the psychology of investors.

In 1986, to honor his father, he founded the Jerome Levy Economics Institute (now the Levy Institute) at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. The Levy Institute has established itself as a sponsor of extensive work in Keynesian and post-Keynesian economics. In the last year of his life, Levy commuted up the Hudson River from New York City to teach a class at the Levy Institute, “Contemporary Developments in Finance,” in which he focused on his belief that investing is as much a psychological as it is an economic act. When he died in his late seventies, he was estimated to be worth a billion dollars, though his personal wealth might have been substantially higher were it not for his philanthropic interests.

Read more about Leon Levy:  Philanthropy, Publications

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Leon Levy - Publications
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