The Trading Legends Edition - George Soros , Ep #77
Love him or hate him you have to admit that George Soros is one successful fellow. A true rags-to-riches story, George Soros is one of the most iconic investors alive today. Born before the fall of Eastern Europe, he grew up under the thumb of fascism where he learned to ruthlessly go after what he wanted.
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George was 13 when the Nazis took over Hungary (1943). The Jewish children like himself were not allowed to attend school, but instead were forced to report to the Nazi authorities. The Nazis wanted the Jewish children to hand out deportation notices, but George, at least, was able to turn the tables. When he showed his father the notices, his father took them, and told his son to tell all the men on the list that they needed to run away and escape before the Nazis tried to deport them.
Soros aided his father throughout the War years in rescuing many Jews from the Nazis. George described it as a "happy time" because he got to witness his father's heroism day after day. In 1945, the family experienced the Siege of Budapest in which Nazis and Russian soldiers fought hand-to-hand and house-by-house throughout the streets of Budapest.
He survived the German occupation of Hungary and escaped to freedom in 1947. It was then that George went to the United Kingdom and began his career as an investor.
When asked how he went from being a poor refugee to a billion dollar financier, how he got his start in investing, George replied that he wrote a letter to the head of every investment bank in London, until he got an offer.
In 1970, George started The Single Eagle Fund with $100,000. Three years later, Soros set up the Double Eagle Fund with $4 million dollars, including $250,000 of his own money. That fund is now worth over a billion dollars.
In 2013, the Quantum Fund is reported to have made $5.5 billion in profits. It was the most successful hedge fund that year. As of today's date, the Quantum Fund has made well over $40 billion dollars, much of which has been used for philanthropic purposes.
The Man Who Broke The Bank Of England
Early in the 1990s, during the early phases of the present-day European Union, England was having trouble maintaining the value of the pound. The pound was part of the mechanism used to determine exchange rates across Europe and that was compounding another problem. Because the Bank of England was unwilling to raise interest rates to match other European countries, or to float the currency, it was forced to withdraw from the mechanism.
In George's view, the rate at which the pound was brought into the mechanism was too high, as was the country's inflation rate.
On September 16th, 1992, the British government was forced to remove the pound from the exchange mechanism, and that caused a massive devaluation of the currency. That day is known as Black Wednesday because billions in value were lost almost instantly. George Soros, a savvy trader, with his pulse on the market, took advantage of the same conditions and shorted the pound, well ahead of its crash.
George Soros amassed more than 40 billion dollars in his early career as an investor. Known for his aggressive tactics, he's also well known for his philanthropic activities. At last tally, Soros has given more than $32 billion dollars to a collection of charities under the umbrella of The Open Society Foundation.
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