George Soros has a net worth of $8 billion and is the founder and chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC. He is ranked 20th on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the world in 2017. Soros amassed his fortune as one of the world’s greatest speculators in the global financial markets. His famous bet against the British pound in 1992 generated more than $1 billion in profits in 24 hours and earned him the title of “the man who broke the Bank of England.” His Quantum Fund earned a 33% annualized return for more than 30 years. His philanthropic activities have garnered much acclaim, while his political statements have sparked much controversy.
On April 6, 2018, it is reported that the family office of George Soros, Soros Fund Management, is prepared to trade cryptocurrencies, though Soros called digital assets a typical “bubble” at the World Economic Forum in January 2018.
This is how the legendary George Soros made his fortune.
George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, on Aug. 12, 1930. His Jewish birth surname was Schwartz. His father changed his last name to Soros in 1936 to avoid potential problems with their religion. His father, Tivadar, was a World War I prisoner during the Russian Revolution, who successfully escaped Russia to rejoin his family in Budapest.
Soros experienced the growing persecution of Hungarian Jews during the Nazi occupation. He aided his father in forging thousands of documents to help his countrymen flee Hungary during the Holocaust. The family regularly went into periods of hiding, sometimes separately. Soros honed his survival skills during these times.
Wall Street Bound
By 1947, Soros enrolled in the London School of Economics. His mentor, Karl Popper, was a philosopher who coined the term “open society,” which was the opposite of the dictatorships that he had lived through and loathed. His philanthropic and philosophical views were molded during this time. Four years after his graduation, Soros landed a financial position at a London bank.
In 1956, Soros moved to the United States to procure a position as an arbitrage trader at New York-based firm F.M. Mayer. Soros worked at a number of Wall Street firms as a trader and analyst. The tipping point was when he managed his first offshore fund, the First Eagle Fund, at Arnold and S. Bleichroeder in 1967. His success led to him launch a second fund called the Double Eagle Fund in 1969.
Soros and his assistant Jim Rogers left the firm and formed Soros Fund Management in 1973. Structured as a hedge fund, it was renamed the Soros Fund and eventually became the Quantum Fund in 1979. The fund earned a 3,365% return since inception, compared to 47% for the Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) Index during the same period.
By 1981, the Quantum fund had grown to $381 million, while Soros was estimated to be worth over $100 million. Jim Rogers resigned from the firm the same year that Institutional Investor dubbed George Soros as “The World’s Greatest Money Manager” in its June 1981 cover story. Soros could no longer be anonymous. He outsourced the day-to-day management of the Quantum fund to several different managers. The fund generated a 122% return in 1985, surpassing $1.5 billion in assets under management by 1986.
Growth and Expansion
Soros recruited Stan Druckenmiller to manage the Quantum fund in 1989. Druckenmiller proceeded to generate a 40% annual average return by 1993. The infamous short against the British pound trade in 1992 generated over $1 billion in profits, in addition to generating an estimated $1 billion in profits from trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Swedish krona and Italian lira. Soros was estimated to have earned $650 million that year.
In 1993, Soros was the first American to earn over $1 billion annually, when the Quantum Fund generated a 61.5% annual return. Soros diversified investments with the creation of several new funds under the Quantum umbrella, including the Quantum Realty Fund in 1993 and the Quantum Industrial Holdings Fund in 1994, which was managed by Druckenmiller.
The Quasar Fund launched in 1991. Soros added the Quantum Emerging Growth Fund and the Quota Fund for a total of six funds by 1997. The funds are all part of Soros Fund Management LLC, which is a privately owned family office, as of April 6, 2018. The company’s total assets under management are estimated at $27 billion as of December 31, 2017.