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2. Barry Silbert
Barry Silbert
Age: 33

Silbert was advising distressed companies when he had an epiphany: if there were a marketplace for trading illiquid assets, hard-hit companies might be able to move them off their books.

So he created SecondMarket, a marketplace for the hard-to-trade CDOs, mortgage-backed securities and other exotic creations that helped bring down the biggest Wall Street banks. It also creates a market for other kinds of hard-to-value assets, like Facebook shares.

It's gaining traction: Total inventory reached $10 billion this year. But that's still just a sliver of the some $52 trillion illiquid asset market.

NEXT: Niko Canner

Last updated October 22 2009: 7:50 AM ET
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