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|Age||88 years old (As of the time of writing in May 2019)|
|Current Net Worth||$8.3b|
|Highest Net Worth||$25.2b (2017)|
|Lifetime Charitable Donations||~$32b|
|Percentage of Net Worth Donated||79%|
George Soros is a self-made hedge fund tycoon whose net worth is currently sitting at around $8 billion dollars after donating the majority of his fortune to his philanthropic agency, Open Society Foundations. Despite this huge donation, he is still currently sitting at #178 on the Forbes Billionaires 2019 list.
Soros is most famous for betting against the British pound in 1992 (age 61), earning more than $1 billion in profit and giving him the name of “the man who broke the Bank of England” in the process.
His hedge fund Quantum Fund earned an annualised return of 33% for over 3 decades straight, with his highest net worth to date reaching $25.2 billion in 2017.
Born in 1930 Hungary, George experienced persecution by the Nazis and changed his name from the original Gyorgy Schwartz in an attempt to hide his Jewish background. He and his father were also involved in the forgery of thousands upon thousands of documents in order to help other Jews to flee the country.
In 1947, he moved to England and studied at the London School of Economics, before gaining valuable experience working at a London bank.
He then moved to New York City in 1956, first working several Wall Street trader and analyst positions before setting up his first offshore fund in 1967.
In 1973, George left this previous firm and set up the Soros Fund, which would eventually be renamed to the Quantum Fund.
The fund had reached $381 million by 1981, with George’s own worth rocketing to $100 million by age 50. While this may sound like a huge profit to make so late in life, and George came to be known as “The World’s Greatest Money Manager” around this time, a quick look at the graph above shows that this was still a minuscule fraction of his eventual success.
By 1993, the Quantum Fund was making an average annual return of 40%, with George also becoming to the first ever American to earn over $1 billion in a single year.
4 years later in 1997, Soros owned a total of 6 funds, each managed by his own family office. The total assets managed by the company was estimated to reach around $28 billion by 2018.
Soros is well known for supporting and driving left-wing campaigns and causes around the world, with major political action including donating $24 million to Democratic Party-affiliated political campaigns in 2016.
He also invested $2 million in a left-aligned data analytics company known as Catalist in 2013 and has been responsible for a wide variety of similar political action and investment over the last several decades.
Soros has also been clear in his political opinions throughout his career, including voicing support for Occupy Wall Street and stating that banks that were bailed out during the 2009 financial crisis should have been nationalised or regulated in return for funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, while stating that bailing the banks out simply provided “artificial life support for the banks at considerable expense to the taxpayer”.
Hearing about all of his record-breaking hedge funds, huge winning bets against currencies and overall reputation for money management, you might expect George’s current net worth to be far higher than the $8 billion it currently sits at.
The reason for this is his dedication to using his money to improve the world in his eyes through charitable donations and philanthropy. His Open Society Foundations organisation works to build open, fair democracies in countries where these don’t yet exist and to help support and protect them where they do – with action being taken in over 100 countries so far, and a particular focus on Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2018, George moved $18 billion from his family company to this foundation and is known to have made at least $14 billion in charitable grants throughout his career, including being the founder and main source of funding for the Central European University in Budapest.
“I occupy an exceptional position. My success in the financial markets has given me a greater degree of independence than most other people. This allows me to take a stand on controversial issues: in fact, it obliges me to do so.” – George Soros