Bloomberg's 50 Most Influential 2016

Oct 6, 2016 6:40 AM ET

Originally posted on

When compiling a list of who commands the most power in financial markets, some decisions are easier than others. Jamie Dimon is an obvious choice—he heads the world’s most valuable bank, after all. Same goes for Zhou Xiaochuan, because when you run the People’s Bank of China, moving markets is part of the job description. You’ll find both on Bloomberg’s 50 Most Influential—now in its sixth edition and appearing in Businessweek for the first time—along with a few unexpected names, to keep things interesting. The list’s publication is timed to coincide with our Most Influential Summits in New York, London, and Hong Kong on Sept. 28.

As in previous years, we began by asking dozens of reporters and editors in Bloomberg bureaus to nominate candidates. Then a panel of senior editors vetted and voted, narrowing the field from more than 100 names down to 50. From this effort comes the list you now see: a group of individuals who, followed singularly or collectively, drive some of the major trends sweeping the world of finance.

Naturally, there are some usual suspects. Fed Chair Janet Yellen can soothe or ruffle markets with a phrase. Some corporate leaders can push a stock up or down just by talking. That’s why Warren Buffett makes the list. Technology executives Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick create buzz, but what matters is the capital that flows to where that excitement is bubbling up.

Investors move markets, too, though sometimes markets move against them. You won’t find many hedge funders on the list this year, with most having underperformed the S&P 500. Our ranking rewards recent performance more heavily than lifetime achievement. So it’s not enough to have made billions for your investors in the past if it looks as if you’re losing your touch.

The importance of Xi Jinping can’t be overstated, as he pulls the levers of an economy that, for better or worse, is the biggest source of global growth. By contrast, current events landed Theresa May atop our list. The Brexit vote that precipitated her rise was an economic and political shock. The U.K.’s uncoupling from the European Union will matter greatly in the world of finance, and it’s May who has to manage this messy divorce.

Some of the individuals on our list exert influence because they help shape public opinion: Economist Joseph Stiglitz continues to lead the debate about economic inequality. And who but John Oliver can get people engaged in Puerto Rico’s municipal debt crisis?

Click here to continue reading the full list.