From Investor To Crusader: A Profile Of George Soros

Though self-made billionaire George Soros is an investor, philanthropist, and author, he may be most famously known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England” after a trade he made (based on a single currency speculation) generated a profit of over $1 billion in September of 1992. But before he became one of the current thirty wealthiest men alive (with a net worth of $24.5 billion), he had a humble beginning in Hungary.
George Soros was born on August 12, 1930 in Budapest and his family survived the Nazi occupation of World War II, but fled to England in 1947. While there, Soros was employed as a waiter and a rail porter until he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy (and later his PhD) from the London School of Economics in 1951. After, he began working an entry-level position at an investment bank until he immigrated to the United States in the mid-‘50s and began his career as an analyst and investment manager.
At eighty-five years of age, he has held positions at the New York firms of F.M. Mayer, Wertheim & Co, and Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder, but has gained most of his success on his own. In 1973, he founded the hedge fund company Soros Fund Management, which eventually evolved into Quantum Fund. It proved to be a wildly successfully endeavor, receiving consistent returns of 30% per year.
However, in the late 1980’s, Soros moved on to philanthropy with the wealth he had accumulated through hedge funds. Namely, he began the Open Society Foundation, the only private charity of its kind that connected foundations and partners with projects in more than 100 countries. The goal of Open Society Foundation was to create and foster a world where rights were respected, the people in government were held accountable for their actions, and monopolies were eliminated. Through Open Society Foundation, Soros has awarded scholarships to black South Africans under apartheid, helped undermine Communism in the Eastern Bloc, provided lawyers to represent thousands of individuals who were unlawfully being held in prisons without legal representation, provided school and university fees to thousands of students, and supported independent organizations such as Global Witness, the International Crisis Group, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking, among other things. In addition, he has written several books, including The Tragedy of the European Union in 2014.
Soros once said “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 because others cannot.” And he does. When once asked how he would like to be described, he replied ‘financial, philanthropic and philosophical speculator.’ Through his years of success and his journey to becoming one of history’s richest investors, George Soros deserves, and exemplifies, the title because of the way he lives his life and the pride he takes in helping others.