Top 10 Things to Remember George Soros By
George Soros, the legendary Hungarian-born investor and loyal donor to liberal causes and politicians, is throwing in his hedge-fund towel. He announced on Wednesday that his $26 billion Quantum fund will close its doors to outside investors and morph into a fund that only manages assets for Soros and his family.
The news could mean the end of the more visible portion of Soros’ long career. Love him or hate him, Soros has left observers of financial markets plenty to be remembered by. In no particular order, here is the Trader Daily top-10 list of George Soros career highlights.
10) Gold Hater
As far back as early 2010, Soros warned of gold being in a major asset bubble. He made those comments in an interview with CNBC in late January 2010. From early February 2010, through the close of trading on Tuesday, the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and the iShares Gold Trust (IAU), two exchange-traded funds in which Soros Fund Management once owned sizable stakes, were up over 50%.
9) From Russia with Losses
Soros was one of the first big-name financiers to test the allure of investing in Russia, but being among the first didn’t prevent Soros from having to write off $2 billion in losses following the 1998 financial crisis, according to The New York Times.
8) Brazilian Controversy
Soros’ liberal political proclivities are well known, and that may have been the source of a spurious rumor started by some on the right that Soros was behind a $2 billion loan from the Obama administration to Brazilian oil giant Petrobras (PBR). It’s just that: a rumor. Soros had nothing to do with the loan, according to FactCheck.org.
7) Bold Assertions
Never one to shy away from an audacious claim, Soros said during the financial crisis in 2008 that global subprime mortgage losses could total $1 trillion. Before that, he said the world was facing the worst financial crisis since World War II.
6) Breaking the Baht
A good part of Soros’ trading acumen was born in the foreign currency market, and some critics accuse him of triggering the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis with a massive short bet against the Thai baht, as Investopedia notes.
5) Politics Part II
Though unsuccessful, Soros wrote plenty of checks in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush in 2004. The hedge-fund manager is widely credited with being one of the driving forces from a financial standpoint behind liberal activist groups America Coming Together and Moveon.org, as CNN reported.
4) Insider Trading
Before so many hedge-fund managers and their minions were in hot water for insider trading, Soros was convicted of the offense in France. In a case that goes back more than two decades, Soros allegedly used insider tips for profit on trades of French bank Societe Generale. France’s highest court upheld the conviction in 2006, according to The New York Times
3) Soros the Giver
As The Chronicle of Philanthropy notes, Soros is certainly a charitable guy. He ranked no. 1 on the publication’s “Philanthropy 50” list earlier this year.
2) Steady Returns
Quantum returned an average of 20% a year since 1969 when its predecessor fund was formed, Bloomberg reported.
1) The Pound
As Soros has enjoyed a controversial and illustrious career, the one thing that market historians always recall about him is a 1992 bet against the British pound that was viewed as a catalyst for Great Britain pulling out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Most accounts say Soros made $1 billion on the trade. But some say $1 billion was made in a single day, and the overall profit was $2 billion. Either way, it was a windfall and helped cement Soros’s status as a legendary currency trader. The architect of the trade? Soros’ former chief strategist and former chairman of Duquesne Capital, Stanley Druckenmiller, according to the above Bloomberg report.
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