Worth magazine’s latest annual ranking of the 100 most powerful names in global finance also reads like a list of the biggest names in global politics. But the name at the top of the list is a bit of a surprise.
Perennial business leaders and investing gurus like Warren Buffett (No. 21), George Soros (No. 27), Carl Icahn (No. 32) and Bill Gates (No. 96) made the list, but they’re outnumbered by heads of state and other government officials, especially near the top of the list.
Perhaps the most surprising name on the list, however, is a religious leader: Pope Francis is ranked the most powerful name in finance in 2015.
Richard Bradley, editor-in-chief of Worth, tells Yahoo Finance:
“The pope has the world’s biggest pulpit, and he’s also got some of the world’s most passionate audience. And not only that, he’s not only reaching the world’s Catholics, but he’s changing the hearts and minds of a lot of people who aren’t Catholic.
And I think what surprised a lot of people about the pope is the issues that he’s talking about: immigration, poverty, climate change. He’s reaching more people about financial and economic issues than anybody would have expected.”
Bradley says that prior to the recession of 2007-2009, bank leaders would have been ranked higher than they are this year. But the dominance of political leaders at the top of the 2015 list is a reflection of the current state of the economy:
“It says to me that we still haven’t escaped the long tentacles of the financial crisis. … I think it says that the world’s economies are still requiring intervention and sort of attention from heads of state and regulators.”
The top 10 names on Worth’s list this year are:
- Pope Francis, bishop of Rome
- Barack Obama, president of the U.S.
- Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany
- Xi Jinping, president of China and general secretary of the Communist Party
- Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank
- Vladimir Putin, president of Russia
- Janet Yellen, chairman of the United States’ central bank, the Federal Reserve System
- David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom
- Narendra Modi, prime minister of India
- Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba Group
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