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The Witch of Wall Street

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 4:00 AM GMT


Long before the famous moves of George Soros and Warrant Buffet there was another prominent figure walking   alone up and down on Wall Street. This was an old woman, dressed in black rugged dress carrying a case with her pitiful lunched tossed inside usually graham crackers or dry oatmeal. Her name was Hetty Green and she was worth at the time $3.8 Billion!  Back in the 1800s, she was the first woman investor on Wall Street and due to her odd dressing, stingy habits and grim attitude everyone called her “The Witch of Wall Street”.
 
Who was the 'Witch of Wall Street'?

Henrietta Howland “Hetty” Green was born in 1934 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, into the richest family inthe city. She was raised by her father and grandfather that trained her how to handle money with bedtime stories stock reports.

Hetty was famous for her big love for money and stinginess. In her 20s her father bought her a wardrobe worth $1200 for her debut in the Boston and New York society, which she sold and used the money to invest in the stock market. By the age of 31 she inherited the ample sum of a $7 million that she turned into a fortune. She worked as an operator on the Wall Street Stock exchange. No woman until then had ever done this. Wall Street watched with astonishing amusement the rumpled dirty little woman taking large positions in the highly unregulated stock market and profit almost every time. The investment strategy she followed her entire live was making conservative investments backed up with substantial cash reserves. Hetty was very keen also towards buying mortgages and foreclosing contracts, even on churches. She also lent money to bankers and brokerage houses. Hetty was a woman a century ahead of her time. She could have been easily the hedge funds and private equity managers of her time.

Hetty died at the age of 83 in an inexpensive lodging in New Jersey in 1913. Regarding her stingy practices and way of living, she remains in history as a brilliant financial strategist and the richest woman of America at her time.

 

 
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