Dealer's short way to a billion

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The Independent Online
WANT TO make a billion pounds? Follow the example of George Soros, 62, a Hungarian- born ex-merchant banker, philanthropist, ace forex dealer and fund manager who has recently done just that, writes Topaz Amoore.

The only downside for the eager British investor is the indignation that will follow efforts to emulate Mr Soros, since he made his mint speculating on the pound.

The first requirement (and here lies the catch for most people) is a billion dollars' worth of collateral with which to exploit Black Wednesday and the sterling crisis, ideal conditions for a foreign exchange gambler.

Mr Soros, chairman of the Dutch Antilles-based Quantum Fund, blames the UK government and the Bundesbank for sterling's collapse.

According to Forbes magazine, he made his billion by 'selling short' sterling. Selling short involves borrowing money - for example the pound - and then converting it into, say, marks at a fixed rate.

When (if all goes well for the speculator) sterling plummets, he buys the now cheaper sterling and uses it to repay the original debt. The difference is the profit.

Forbes says that Mr Soros sold sterling short to the tune of dollars 7bn, bought into marks and, to a lesser extent, bought the French franc.

He also bought about pounds 300m worth of British shares while shorting sterling in the knowledge that the stock market often rises after a currency devaluation.

'If I didn't do it, someone else would have done,' he explains.

(Photograph omitted)