Leon G. “Lee” Cooperman (born April 25, 1943) is an American investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of Omega Advisors, a New York-based investment advisory firm managing over $6 billion in assets under management.
On September 21, 2016 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Cooperman and Omega Advisors with insider trading, more specifically for “trading stocks, bonds and call options of Atlas Pipeline Partners in July 2010 on information he obtained from an executive at the company.” Cooperman has denied these charges saying they were “totally without merit,” and his attorney has argued that “no court has upheld a misappropriation theory of insider trading based on a purported promise to keep information confidential (or to refrain from trading) made after the information was acquired.
Early life and education
Cooperman was born to a Jewish family in the South Bronx, New York City. He is the son of immigrants from Poland. Cooperman was the first in his family to earn a college degree. As an undergraduate at Hunter College, Cooperman joined and was an active member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi. After graduating, he became a quality control engineer at Xerox in 1965. Cooperman later received his MBA from Columbia Business School, graduating in 1967.
Early career and Goldman Sachs
Directly after graduating from Columbia, Cooperman joined Goldman Sachs. He spent his first twenty two years at Goldman in the Investment Research Department as partner-in-charge, co-chairman of the Investment Policy Committee and chairman of the Stock Selection Committee. In 1989, he became chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and was chief investment officer of the equity product line including managing the GS Capital Growth Fund, an open-end mutual fund, for one and one-half years.
At the end of 1991 after twenty five years of service, Cooperman retired from his positions as a general partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and as chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management.