Luis Carlos Sarmiento is the richest person in Colombia. The business tycoon has an estimated net worth of $12.9 billion as of 2015. He is the president and founder of the massive banking conglomerate Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores, SA. When he started Grupo Aval, it was so he could have a central place to manage all of his interests across multiple industries, including banking, telecommunications and real estate. Today, Sarmiento is the majority shareholder for the multinational banking corporation. The Colombian conglomerate Grupo Aval owns multiple subsidiaries, concentrating on banks and financial service institutions
Sarmiento’s success comes from his conservative management techniques. Grupo Aval was able to rise above Colombia’s most devastating recession, thanks to his watchful and restrained management style. His personal net worth continues to rise and his company gained significant traction in the early 2000s. Although Aval Grupo was going to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange during this time, Sarmiento held off on joining Wall Street due to its unstable issues. As Colombia’s stock market began to perform well, so did Sarmiento’s holdings in 2005. Grupo Aval will eventually be passed on to Sarmiento’s son, Luis Carlos Jr., who is currently helping his father run the family empire.