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The most powerful person in finance may surprise you

Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance

Worth Magazine’s Power 100 list ranks the most influential people in global finance each year. After months of scrutinizing, 2015’s list was released this week with a surprising person at the top: Pope Francis.

“We think financial power is about the ability to affect people’s lives,” says Richard Bradley, editor-in-chief of Worth Magazine. “It seems like an unconventional choice but the Pope has the world’s biggest pulpit. He’s also got the world’s most passionate audience.” Bradley believes that Pope Francis’ appeal and persuasion have moved beyond just Catholics and to the general population. “With the things that he’s talking about -- immigration, poverty, climate change -- he’s reaching more people about financial issues than anyone would have expected.”

Nine out of the top ten on the list were heads of state or government officials, which Bradley says is a reflection of the current state of global economics. He believes it proves that we haven’t fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. “Before 2008 you would have seen bank heads dominating this list…it says world’s economies are still requiring intervention and attention from heads of state and regulators.”

The only CEO who did manage to crack the top 10 was Alibaba’s Jack Ma. Alibaba has had a tough year and the stock has taken a hit in the last couple of months but Bradley contends that Ma is still the most powerful businessman in China, which is a very significant position to hold.

**Note: Yahoo holds a position in Alibaba.

Worth Power 100 Top Ten

10. Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman, Alibaba Group

9. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India

8. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

7. Janet Yellen, Chairman, Federal Reserve

6. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia

5. Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank

4. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, General Secretary of the Communist Party

3. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

2. Barack Obama, President of the United States

1. Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome