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George Soros Reported To Re-Enter Hedge Fund Management

by Jason Gorringe,, London

25 December 2002

72-year-old Hungarian-born George Soros, legendary hedge-fund manager, financier and philanthropist, is reported to have reassumed direct control of his stable of hedge funds, including the US$7bn Quantum Endowment Fund, says the current issue of BusinessWeek.

After taking losses in the dotcom meltdown (who didn't?) he seemed to retire from active investment management, saying that he was 70 and didn't want to gamble any more. However, he continued to advise Soros Fund Management, which has a total of US$11.5bn under management, of which about $1bn is thought to be invested in European hedge fund strategies. The group's flagship Quantum Endowment Fund is down 0.82% this year to date, compared with average performance of plus 1% from top hedge fund indices.

The Group recently cut back heavily on its European operations and moved some remaining staff to New York. It isn't thought that the group will reduce its European exposure, although it has tended in recent times to prefer private equity and property to classical hedge fund management.

Last summer, Mr Soros said he wouldn't be surprised if the dollar loses a third of its value during the next several years. He also said that markets could go much lower if key governments, such as the US administration, don't take the right policy steps.

Mr Soros said that the news of corporate misdemeanours in the US has frightened off the foreign investors who have been financing the US trade deficit. Trends in currency markets tend to last several years and involve major swings, he said, so a drop of around a third in the dollar's value from recent levels "would not be unprecedented."

Last week, a Paris court found Mr Soros guilty of insider trading and fined him €2.2 million ($2.3 million), the amount prosecutors said he had made from buying shares in French bank Societe Generale SA in 1988.

Mr. Soros, who was in New York when the court issued its verdict, said: "I am astounded and dismayed by the court's ruling. I will appeal the decision to the highest level necessary."

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