Mohammed Islam is only 17 and still months away from graduating – but worth a rumored $72 million. “The high eight figures,” is as specific as the shy and modest teen would get when asked his net worth.
Islam bought himself a BMW but doesn’t have a license to drive it. And he rented a Manhattan apartment, though his parents, immigrants from the Bengal region of South Asia, won’t let him move out of the house yet.
Still, the cherubic prodigy is living, and dreaming, large.
“What makes the world go round?” Islam asked in the interview, explaining his preference for trading and investment over startups. “Money. If money is not flowing, if businesses don’t keep going, there’s no innovation, no products, no investments, no growth, no jobs.”
Islam and a pair of other young, Wall Street wolf-cub buddies eat regularly at hot spot Morimoto, where they enjoy $400 caviar and fresh-squeezed apple juice.
They hope to start a hedge fund in June, after Islam turns 18 and can get his broker-dealer license.
“Mo’s our maestro,” one of the kids explained.
The three pals intend to make a billion dollars by next year. All while attending college. “But it’s not just about the money,” Islam told the mag, which ranked his spectacular success story as No. 12 in its 10th annual “Reasons to Love New York” issue.
“We want to create a brotherhood. Like, all of us who are connected, who are in something together, who have influence.”
“Like the Koch brothers,” he added, referring to sibling oil magnates Charles and David, worth $40 billion each.
Islam’s biggest inspiration, though, is Paul Tudor Jones, a billionaire hedge-funder and private asset manager from Connecticut who ranks as 108th-richest American, according to Forbes.
Battered by losses, Jones would jump back in the game again and again. It was a lesson Islam found instructive when, while dabbling in penny stocks at age 9, he lost a chunk of the money he’d made tutoring. Islam swore off trading, realizing, “I didn’t have the balls for it,” he said.
Fortunately, he turned to studying modern finance, reading up on the titans of trading and ultimately finding inspiration in Jones. “I had been paralyzed by my loss,” Islam remembered of his 9-year-old self.
“But [Jones] was able to go back to it, even after losing thousands of dollars over and over,” he said.
And while Islam still needs to rely on dad to chauffeur him on inspirational drives past the magnate’s Greenwich mansion, he’s quick to quote from the guru whom he credits with getting him back in the game and making him “who I am today.”
“Paul Tudor Jones says, ‘You learn more from your losses than from your gains.’ ”