Vote: Businessperson of the Year – Wall Street MVPs
UPDATE: The results are in. Here are this year’s reader’s choice winners. Thanks for voting!
FORTUNE – Every year, Fortune selects its Businessperson of the Year (we’ll reveal our winner along with the runners up on November 21). But we want to open up the selection process to you, our readers.
This year, we’ve asked a select group of Fortune staffers and contributors to nominate their MVPs within their respective beats. In today’s installment, Fortune finance writer Stephen Gandel offers his selection of top performers on Wall Street for 2013. Cast your vote below for this year’s reader’s choice picks.
James Gorman – CEO, Chairman of Morgan Stanley
If the award was called Businessperson who Pulled off the Best Turnaround of the Year — and why isn’t it? — it would have to go to Gorman. A year ago, the CEO of Morgan Stanley (MS) was dealing with the fallout of the Facebook (FB) IPO flop and a potential three notch downgrade from the credit ratings agencies. The acquisition of Citigroup’s (C) Smith Barney, which Gorman masterminded, was in trouble. Gorman looked like he was headed for the exit. But now he is increasingly looking like one of the best managers on Wall Street. In the latest quarter, Morgan Stanley (MS) produced solid results, while rivals like Goldman Sachs (GS) struggled. What’s more, his push to de-risk his firm has made Gorman popular with regulators and Washington. And the firm has be able to avoid many of the legal troubles that have plagued other big banks. (Those last two things might be related.) And the market has noticed. Shares of the bank have climbed a remarkable 58% this year, about double most rivals.
John Stumpf – CEO of Wells Fargo
This year, Stumpf steered the Wells Fargo (WFC) wagon to profit town. The San Francisco-based bank is on track to earn nearly $21 billion in 2013. That will give Wells the title of most profitable bank in the U.S., something that Stumpf’s predecessors have never been able to claim. The bank got an assist from Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) continuing legal woes. Still, Wells never abandoned the mortgage market, solidifying its lead in the home lending business as others were running for cover. That has paid off. More than any other bank, Wells has benefited from the low interest rate refi boom, and the rebound of the housing market. Wells Fargo may not be able to hold onto the most profitable crown for long, but this award is for 2013.
Jeff Ubben – Managing Partner of ValueAct
Hedge fund manager Ubben usually takes his time before he makes an investment. But earlier this year, a partner said he should take a look at Microsoft (MSFT). Within two months, Ubben was at an investment conference announcing a $2 billion stake in the software giant. The quick move has paid off. Microsoft’s shares are up 41% this year. And Ubben has won a seat on Microsoft’s board. Overall, Ubben’s fund was up 20% in the first nine months of 2013, which was about four times better than the average hedge fund. That’s drawing more money to the firm. ValueAct now manages $12 billion, up from $2.5 billion at end of 2009.
Carl Icahn – Founder of Icahn Capital Management
From getting to smack down his chief nemesis live on CNBC to his many meals with Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, it’s clear that Icahn has had a pretty sweet year. And even though he didn’t end up winning the fight for Dell (DELL), he still ended up making money on the deal. Investments in Netflix (NFLX) and Chesapeake (CHK) have also paid off. Shares of publicly traded investment company Icahn Enterprises, of which Icahn owns 80%, are up 150% this year. And with just 49 Tweets, Icahn has over 100,000 followers. That’s a pretty good return on investment. Bottom-line: The great-grandfather of activist investing showed in 2013 that he still has game.
Larry Fink – CEO, Chairman of Blackrock
Fink got his start in the bond business. But a recent shift toward stocks hasn’t stopped him or his firm. In 2013, Blackrock crossed another mega-milestone. It now manages a staggering $4 trillion. And after a lackluster 2012, Blackrock’s earnings are up solidly this year. Shares of the company have climbed 45%.
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