1. Warren Buffet
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway is the best known investor and one of the richest and most influential persons in the world. In 1999 he was named the top money manager of the twentieth century in a survey by the Carson Group.
Buffet invests in companies with long-term growth possibilities, mainly in media, insurance, and consumer branches. The world-famous investor is noted for being a philanthropist, having obliged to donate 85 percent of his fortune to the Gates Foundation.
2. Sir John Templeton
His Templeton Growth Fund launched in 1954, was a pioneer in the global nature of it’s investments. The fund that achieved annual returns of 15% until Templeton's retirement in 1992 utilized spotting opportunities internationally before others did. Templeton used fundamental analysis in his investment decisions and he was noted for making decisions counter to what others are doing.
Templeton set up the Templeton Prize in 1972 and the John Templeton Foundation in 1987, the same year he was knighted.
3. Peter Lynch
One of the world’s best fund managers rose up the ranks of Fidelity, a giant investment company, and became the head of the Fidelity Magellan Fund. Lynch grew the assets of the mutual fund from $18 million to $14 billion. The fund averaged a 29% annual return from 1977 until 1990.
Peter Lynch has written three books on investing: “One Up on Wall Street“, “Beating the Street“, and “Learn to Earn“.
4. Philip Fisher
Fisher started his own financial business in 1931 and managed it for the next 68 years. The pioneer of growth investing specialized in long-term buy and hold deals. He preferred technology growth stocks. The basis of his strategy for finding long-term growth stocks was determining whether a company is able to grow for several years, maintain strong profit margins, and has a high-quality management, commitment to research, and a superior sales organization.
Fisher was brilliant at networking, he used a wide range of information sources. His method was so unique at that time that Warren Buffet incorporated Fisher’s strategy into his stock selection process.
5. T. Rowe Price
Thomas Rowe Price, Jr. is known for the funds that bear his name. One of the world’s foremost fund managers established his investment company in 1937. His funds invested heavily in commodities and energy.
His growth oriented investing philosophy prefers buying growth stocks and hold them for a long period of time. The growth period provides a decent return on the money, while after a company reaches maturity the risk increases, and the earning opportunity decreases.
6. Benjamin Graham
Benjamin Graham initiated the use of fundamental analysis in applied portfolio investment. His principles of security analysis and value investing are used by fund managers today. Graham's books “Security Analysis“, “The Intelligent Investor“ and “The Money Masters of Our Time“ are considered as investment classics.
Graham advised investors buying stocks that trade below their historical P/E ratio and below their book value, especially stocks of large companies with strong sales.
7. George Soros
The Hungarian-American financier and businessman specialized in short term speculation of bonds and currencies. Soros established the Quantum Fund that achieved some of the all-time biggest gains. It holds the best performance record of any investment fund in the world over its 26-year history with its cumulative 32% annual return. The fund shorting the British Pound nearly broke the Bank of England in 1992.
Soros is considered as a philanthropist who supports liberal ideals.
8. David Dreman
In 1969, Dreman, as a junior analyst lost 75% of his net worth following the crowd when the shares of companies with negligible earnings skyrocketed. As a result of this experience he began to study how psychology affects investor behavior and became a contrarian investor. He is famous for his book, "Contrarian Investment Strategy: The Psychology of Stock Market Success". Dreman has also written the "The Contrarian" column in Forbes magazine for 22 years.
Dreman is on the board of directors of the Institute of Behavioral Finance and publisher of the Journal of Behavioral Finance.
9. John Neff
The head of Vanguard's Windsor Fund achieved an annual return of 13.7% compared to 10.6% for the S&P 500 from 1964 to 1995. As a classic value investor Neff focused on companies with low P/E ratios, demanded that his stocks generate current income through large cash dividends and he avoided stocks with exposure to cyclical downturns. Neff suggested that investors should sell their stocks when the company's fundamentals get worse or the price meets expectations.
He summarized his investment strategies the book: "John Neff on Investing".
10. Ralph Wanger
Ralph Wanger founded Wanger Asset Management after resigning from Harris Associates and taking the Acorn Fund with him. He specialized in medium to long-term investments in small-cap companies with growth opportunities. Wanger prefers companies with growing markets and skilled marketing. The Acorn Fund has been one of the top-performing growth funds between 1970 and 1988.
Wanger was famous for his witty and far ranging quarterly letters he sent to his shareholders as lead manager for the Acorn Fund.