In The News: George Soros

HE'S not short of a few quid, that George Soros, writes Andrew Buncombe. Even by the standards of the world of high finance, he is considered an exception. He makes a million here, loses a million there. It doesn't really matter; he's always in the black.

And black is certainly an apt colour with which to link Mr Soros.

One of his most famous financial coups - and certainly the one which lodged the speculator in the wider public consciousness - occurred in September 1992, when he bet against Sterling. The then Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont scored one of the financial own goals of the century and Britain lost billions before the Bank of England finally conceeded that it had to devalue the pound. They called it Black Wednesday, but it wasn't a bad day for Soros; he made pounds 600m.

In 1993 he was reckoned to be the biggest earner on Wall Street and analysts estimated he makes around pounds 2,500 a minute.

So when the Kremlin fell into financial difficulties last summer and needed a friendly financier to help them out with a few hundred million pounds or so, Soros was the perfect man.

And all this wealth comes from just betting on the financial markets, guessing which currencies are going to boom and which are going to bust. When to buy, and when to sell. When to invest and when to get out. He makes Gordon Gekko look like and amateur

By general consensus he has set the tone for a new generation of large, professional investors, who run so-called hedge funds for wealthy clients. It is said markets often hang on his prediciations on the fortunes of gold,. silver and shares. An interview he once gave on Germany's fortunes caused the Mark to fall.

By his own admission, Soros is a gambler, albeit, a very good one. "It just so happens that I play the game better and bigger than most people," he once said, sitting in the 33rd floor of his New York offices.

But it hasn't always been midtown Manhattan for Mr Soros. He was born in Hungary, and fled as a teenager when the Nazi's invaded. Budapest was no place for Jewish family. He arrived in Britain at the end of the war, penniless and desparate to build himself a future. He studied at the LSE before moving to New York.

There he learnt the trade of finance and investment and by 1969 Soros, then agd 39, was in a position to start his now famous Quantum offshore fund. He told potential investors the purpose of the fund was to "enable sophisticated investors to participate in an internationally diversified investment portfolio". By 1972 the fund - registered in the Dutch Antilles but run from New York by Soros Fund Management - was worth pounds 20m. These days it's worth about pounds 12billion and Soros ranks as America's 27th richest person.

He is committed to issues such as Bosnia, the arts, minority rights and democracy. He has foundations in Russia and Eastern Europe which distribute around $300m dollars a year, the most he was allowed to donate under US tax law.

Soros could be described as a philosopher, a theorist, a philanthropist and a financial genuis, But above all, he's a good man to tap up if you're ever short.


George Soros, worth an estimated pounds 2,500m and one of the world's 150 richest people, is most famously known as the Man who broke the Bank of England. The title came from his actions in September 1992, when he bet against the fortunes of sterling as the chancellor, Norman Lamont, tried to prop up the pound. Britain lost billions as Mr Lamont squandered its gold reserves before the Bank of England got out the white flag and devalued the currency. The event, which was to cost Mr Lamont his job, was known as Black Wednesday, but it was a marvellous day for Mr Soros, who made more than pounds 600m by speculating against sterling.


Often overlooked by those chronicling the legendary exploits of Mr Soros is day he lost twice as much as his Black Wednesday winnings, when the worldwide markets tumbled in October 1997. Mr Soros's Quantum Fund alone lost pounds 600m, while five other Soros funds, managed by his right-hand man, Stanley Druckenmiller, lost a similar amount. But, perhaps surprisingly, this was not the first time had lost millions. In 1987 he lost pounds 450m overnight after wrongly predicting there would be a crash in Tokyo and selling up. He shrugged the loss off, taking his wife to a dinner party.


Mr Soros's most famous fund is the Quantum Fund, which he launched in 1969 with pounds 4m. It operates by charging clients to invest their money in currency, commodity and interest-rate markets as well as securities and equities. Anyone who invested pounds 7,000 in 1969 and reinvested their dividends will be pleased to learn that their money is now worth pounds 10m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot