In the run up to the Brexit vote on 23rd June 2016, successful hedge fund billionaire George Soros warned of a Black Friday and that is exactly what happened in the aftermath. According a Forbes report published on June 28, 2016 the passage of the Brexit vote triggered unimaginable sell-off in the global markets. The UK pound fell to its lowest level in 30-years while leading European banks bore the biggest brunt in stock trading. Soros built a reputation as a legendary trader, when he made $1 billion in the 90’s when he famously bet against the British pound. The latest positions to earn him impress include $100 million bet against Deutsche Bank and large defensive holding in SPDR Gold Trust ETF and Barrick Gold.
Soros also scored with his huge put options against the S&P 500 Index. On his Deutsche Bank bet, filings released by the Bundesanzieger, the German regulatory authority indicate that Soros Fund Management shorted the Deutsche Bank shares to the tune of 0.51% or about 7 million from June 24, 2016. The position closed as leading European stocks took in the Brexit shock. Aside from Soros, the other prominent hedge funds that joined in the frenzy by betting against German listed companies include Blue Ridge Capital and Polygon Global Partners. In the UK, data released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) indicate that most of the companies shorted by hedge funds were in the financial, property and retail sectors.
The companies include Aberdeen Asset Management, Intu Properties and WM Morrison Supermarkets. In spite of the torrid events leading to the Brexit vote and thereafter, Soros remains one of the biggest supporters of the European Union and economic integration. In the US, he is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party. In an excerpt published in Politico on July 2016, Soros made headlines by committing to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid along with that of other candidates seeking elective position through the Democratic Party. Soros offered over $25 million to support the party and various causes.
The decision follows a lull in Soros campaign funding following the record breaking $27 million that he offered to support John Kerry’s unsuccessful bid to defeat George W. Bush in the 2004. The other efforts funded by Soros in the last election cycle include $5 million to support Immigrant Voter’s Win, a SuperPAC that targets to bring Latino voters to the polls and $5 million to fight vote stifling efforts by conservatives. George Soros strongly cares about civil rights and the empowerment immigrant and minority communities. The organizations he supports in this line of thinking, according to Wikipedia include; Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International Ireland and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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