Steve Schwarzman: Wall Street’s arch dealmaker

Steve Schwarzman has had an illustrious career in finance, while his friendship with Donald Trump has made him a pivotal figure in the US-China trade war. Yet he remains a relative unknown. Jane Lewis reports.

Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman © JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman © JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

"A most unusual manunknown to most Americans", is how the doyen of US business culture, Steve Forbes, describes Steve Schwarzman. It's a strangely amorphous introduction to the co-founder of Blackstone, one of the world's largest asset managers especially since, according to Forbes, Schwarzman's "entrepreneurial bent" has made him "the most influential" American financier "since the original J.P. Morgan".

A good locust

During the financial crisis, Schwarzman played a useful role advising the US Treasury. His international connections and longtime friendship with Donald Trump have since seen him emerge as a "back channel in US-China relations", says Lionel Barber in the Financial Times. Much in demand among peers as a "Trump whisperer", he's a prolific philanthropist who has built one of the most successful businesses on the planet. Yet Steve Schwarzman has "never quite received the credit he believes he deserves".

Advertisement - Article continues below

Schwarzman grew up in Philadelphia, the son of a Jewish shopkeeper whose lack of ambition baffled him. Schwarzman says he inherited "the right gene mix" from his mother, "a very formidable, strong survivor" who understood the power of social connections. She helped get him to Yale, where he joined the exclusive Skull and Bones secret society, and he never looked back. After Harvard Business School, he joined Lehman Brothers where he indulged his latent love of beauty and comfort by lavishly redecorating his office. "I wanted... a cocoon against all the psychological stresses of my work, like a... library in an English house".

From Lehman to Blackstone




Masayoshi Son: the God of tech tests the faithful

Masayoshi Son, the founder of Japanese tech giant Softbank, has had a bad crisis. He has bounced back before, and will do again, he insists. It wouldn…
1 Jun 2020

Top four financial villains of the last 20 years

Despite MoneyWeek’s 1,000 issues, we struggled to find a page of material on people we considered particularly worthy of honour. We were spoilt for ch…
26 May 2020

Great frauds in history... Lee B. Farkas’s dodgy mortgages

Lee Bentley Farkas transformed TBW into one of the largest mortgage brokers in the US – his fraud is reckoned to have cost around €3bn.
20 May 2020

The making of Warren Buffett

The man who “triumphed in the long game by practising a simpler, purer version of capitalism” is widely hailed as the world’s greatest living investor…
17 May 2020

Most Popular

UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020