George Soros

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George Soros
Soros talk in Malaysia-1-.jpg
Occupation Financier and philanthropist

A global financier, philanthropist and political activist, George Soros is the founder and chairman of a network of foundations that promote, among other things, the creation of open, democratic societies based upon the rule of law, market economies, transparent and accountable governance, freedom of the press, and respect for human rights.[1]

He is also one of the most successful hedge fund managers. He is famous for running the Quantum Fund, which generated an average annual return of more than 30 percent under his watch. He is also known as "the man who broke the Bank of England," for a single currency speculation in September of 1992, when he shorted the British pound and made a $1 billion profit in one day. Soros is also blamed by some for triggering the Asian financial crisis in 1997, when he made a large bet against the Thai baht.[2]

He also successfully bet that Germany’s mark would rise after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Soros gave $23.7 million to independent political committees opposing then-President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004, more than any other donor, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. Soros and his family donated $200,000 to the committee that organized President Barack Obama’s inauguration.[3]

In July of 2011, Soros ended his career as a hedge fund manager. The announcement came after new regulation requires hedge funds with more than $150 million in assets to report information about their investors and employees, the assets they manage, potential conflicts of interest and their activities outside of fund advising to the Securities and Exchange Commission. [4] Due to this regulation, Soros is returning outside funds valued around $1 billion and only managing family money. [5]

Background

Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930. His father was taken prisoner during World War I and but eventually escaped from captivity in Russia to join his family in Budapest. Soros was thirteen years old when Hitler seized Hungary and began deporting Hungarian Jews to extermination camps.

Soros defected in 1946 at a conference in the West and in 1947 emigrated to England. There, he worked as a railroad porter and a waiter. After graduating from the London School of Economics in 1952, he took an entry-level position with an investment bank.

He set up the Quantum Fund in 1969 as one of the world's first hedge funds. It was registered in Curacao in the Caribbean, but run from Manhattan. The fund profited hugely from the collapse of fixed exchange rates in the l970s and the deregulation of global capital markets. By l980 Soros was worth $25m and his fund $100m.[6]

He set up the Soros Foundation in the 1980s to support democracy in Russia and Eastern Europe. Its first initiative was called the Open Society Fund. By the l990s he was giving away more than $300 million a year, providing more aid for some countries than the U.S. government.

Education

Soros graduated in 1952 from the London School of Economics, where he became acquainted with the work of the philosopher Karl Popper, whose ideas on open society influenced him profoundly.

References

  1. George Soros bio. Open Society Institute.
  2. "Billionaire Who Broke the Bank of England". Telegraph.co.uk.
  3. Soros Says Crisis Signals End of a Free-Market Model. Bloomberg.
  4. George Soros says regulatory red tape leads him to bow out. Economic Times.
  5. Soros ends career as hedge fund manager to manage only family assets worth $25 billion. Economic Times.
  6. "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England". BBC News.