Although Bill Gates is the third-richest person in the world, he's involved in many philanthropic causes. He has pledged to give most of his wealth away.
Over the years, Gates has accumulated his wealth by building a vast business empire and investing in a mix of stocks and other assets. Where does Bill Gates invest? What's in his portfolio and how is he giving away his money?
How much is Bill Gates' net worth?
According to Forbes, Bill Gates’ net worth is $118.5 billion. Currently, he's the third-richest person in the world. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the second-richest person in the world. Although Gates dropped out of Harvard University, he became a successful technology entrepreneur. He founded Microsoft in 1975. Gates has either sold or given away most of his stake in the company.
Bill Gates is a self-made billionaire who built a successful business empire over years. Along with his wife Melinda, he has founded the world’s largest private charitable foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Through the Giving Pledge, Gates and many other wealthy people have committed to giving most of their wealth away. To date, Gates has donated $35.8 billion of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates on vaccines
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helps to accelerate the development of new vaccines. The foundation invests in expertise and technologies that help make vaccines faster, better, and cheaper. The foundation's vaccine development and surveillance team is divided into four domains:
- Vaccine clinical domain
- Chemistry manufacturing and control domain
- Surveillance domain
- Epidemic preparedness domain
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation has committed $300 million towards this effort.
Recently, Pfizer and Moderna announced the results of their late-stage trials. While Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is said to be more than 90 percent effective, Moderna’s vaccine is more than 95 percent effective. The positive results from the COVID-19 vaccine trials have led to positive momentum in the markets.
Bill Gates is also feeling optimistic about COVID-19 vaccine development. He told CNN's Fareed Zakaria, "Almost all the vaccines will work and with very high efficacy levels." However, he also said, “We should be very worried about the next six months.” The foundation is helping develop other vaccines including one for malaria.
What companies does Bill Gates invest in?
Bill Gates invests across a wide range of assets including bonds, real estate, private equity, and publicly-traded stocks. Two major takeaways from Gates’ investment style are:
- He mainly invests in large-cap blue-chip stocks.
- His portfolio is financial services heavy.
Bill Gates' stock portfolio
At the end of the third quarter of 2020, Bill Gates had a 24-stock portfolio. The biggest holding of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which accounted for 45.4 percent of the total portfolio value. However, the stock is mostly donated to the foundation. Waste Management, the second-largest holding, accounted for 9.55 percent of the portfolio.
Other stocks in the foundation’s portfolio are Canadian National Railway, Walmart, Crown Castle International, Ecolab, FedEx, UPS, Coca-Cola, SCHRODINGER, Apple, Amazon, Alibaba Group Holdings, Grupo Televisa SA, Boston Properties, Liberty Global Inc. C, Alphabet, Alphabet Inc. CL C, Liberty Global Inc., Twitter, Liberty LiLAC Group C, Liberty LiLAC Group A, and Uber Technologies.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's investments
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation explains how its endowment is invested. The goal is to ensure that all people live healthy and productive lives. The foundation focuses on grantmaking and advocacy to help solve complex problems like AIDS, malaria, and extreme poverty. The foundation believes that businesses play a crucial role in helping solve these problems.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation encourages businesses directly to dedicate expertise and money to these problems. Bill and Melinda Gates also guide the managers of the foundation’s endowment to vote proxies consistent with these principles.
Is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation a non-profit?
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private philanthropic foundation in the world. The foundation invests 5 percent of its endowment on programs and advocacy, while the other 95 percent is invested through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, which is the foundation’s sister nonprofit.