George Soros is a Hungarian-American investment magnate and philanthropist who is the founder of Soros Fund Management, one of the world’s largest hedge funds. Born into a well-to-do upper-middle-class Jewish family in Budapest, Hungary, Soros’s family changed their original name, Schwartz to Soros to protect themselves against the increasingly anti-Semitic regime of their country. Having survived one of the most brutal battles of the Second World War which happened in their city, Soros later moved to England and enrolled at the London School of Economics, graduating with a degree in Bachelor of Science and a Master’s Degree in the same.
Soros discovered his passion for finance and worked for a few reputed companies in varying positions that involved trading and speculation in stocks. It was during this period that he developed his own economic theory, called the theory of reflexivity and went on to start a hedge fund with $4 million, a princely sum, considering the fact that it was in 1969. The fund grew in value and Soros went on to establish another organization, the Soros Fund Management. Over the many years that the fund was operational, George Soros guided it through various market scenarios and several booms and busts. After a few decades, the size of the fund had grown to billions of dollars. However, an incident concerning the British currency would elevate Soros’s reputation to global heights.
It all started with the debate in the British government about the Pound Sterling being included in the European Union’s European Exchange Rate Mechanism, which would have serious consequences for the economy of the United Kingdom. After a thorough speculation of the economic conditions, Soros began building up a sizeable short position for months leading up to September of 1992, when the UK government decided to withdraw the Pound Sterling from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, in an effort to maintain the currency’s value. From his favorably established short position, George Soros short sold more than $10 billion in pounds, taking advantage of the UK government’s decision. This deal alone made Soros richer by over a billion pounds and earned him the title of “The man who broke the Bank of England”.
At his peak, Soros was worth over $25 billion dollars, easily making him the richest and arguably the most successful hedge fund manager in the world. Having struggled significantly in his childhood, Soros dedicated a large portion of his wealth to fund charitable causes that not only improve the lives of people but also push for greater accountability and transparency in governments. He has donated more than $32 billion through his organization, Open Society Foundations. The foundation advances justice, education and public health. His contributions to civil liberties and progressive policies have attracted the ire of conservative governments. Additionally, he was even instrumental in causing the downfall of communist governments in some former East Bloc governments.
George Soros exemplifies the spirit and ideals of free enterprise and does not deter from taking a stance for his beliefs.