Shrewd investor pocketed $3.5 billion shorting subprime credit last year; windfall believed to be largest one-year payday in Wall Street history. Net worth was less than $300 million in early 2007. New York native studied finance at NYU. M.B.A. from Harvard, then stints at Odyssey Partners, Bear Stearns. Founded Paulson & Co. in 1994. In 2005 became convinced U.S. economy would soon fail; asked employees to find "bubble" to short. Took advantage of perceived weakness in real estate market by executing complex debt trades, betting against ABX (mortgage) index. Firm's Credit Opportunities fund up 590% net of fees last year. Assets under management now $35 billion, up 400% since end of 2006. This year funds are beating S&P by more than 20% on bets against subprime, credit cards.
Graduated first in his class with a degree in Finance from NYU's College of Business and Public Administration. Went on to receive a MBA from the Harvard Business School. Became managing director in mergers and acquisitions at Bear Stearns. Moved on to become a general partner at Gruss Partners. Notable Accomplishments: Made his career (and billions of dollars) by correctly betting against the US housing marketmore » « less