U.S. Markets open in 2 hrs 8 mins

No, billionaire George Soros did not bet against the British Pound this time

George Soros, the billionaire who earned fame by betting against the pound in 1992, says that a British vote on Thursday to leave the European Union will trigger a bigger and more disruptive sterling devaluation than the fall on Black Wednesday. As Sonia Legg reports, many big companies are also warning about the impact of a vote to leave the EU.

Ahead of the Brexit vote, billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros warned that if the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union the British Pound would fall at least 15% and possibly more than 20% over time.

Soros, 85, is widely-known as the man who "broke the Bank of England" following his short bet against the British Pound in 1992 while running the Quantum Fund alongside Stanley Druckenmiller. Soros said the Brexit vote would be even more disruptive than "Black Wednesday."

In a closely-watched referendum on Thursday, British citizens decided to leave the EU, with 52% voting “Leave” versus 48% for “Remain.” The shocking outcome led to a market sell off, with stocks falling, bond yields dropping, and sterling plummeting.

That said, he did not bet against the British Pound. He was actually long the currency.

"George Soros did not speculate against sterling while he was arguing for Britain to remain in the European Union. In fact, he was long the British Pound leading up to the vote," a Soros spokesperson said in a statement.

“However, because of his generally bearish outlook on world markets, Mr. Soros did profit from other investments.”

A quick glance at the fund's most recent 13-filing shows a bullish bet on gold.

Gold, which is considered a “safe haven” investment, saw a massive rally, hitting a two-year high on Friday.

During the first quarter, Soros’ family-office fund bought 1.05 call options SPDR GLD ETF (GLD).

His fund’s second largest holding was gold miner Barrick Gold (ABX), with a position of 19.41 million shares. Barrick Gold jumped more than 5% on Friday.

The filing also shows that Soros’ biggest bet in the first quarter was that the S&P 500 (SPY) would fall, with the the fund owning 2.09 million put options on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF. SPY lost more than 3% on Friday.

Hedge funds only have to disclose their long equity holdings in these 13-F filings. Short positions and wagers on commodities and currencies are not available. What's more is these filings come out 45 day after the end of each quarter, so it's impossible to know if the fund still has those positions. Soros' second quarter 13-F is expected to come out in mid-August.

--
Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance.

Read more:

The world's largest hedge fund identified the huge problems the Brexit poses

John Burbank: This time of peril may herald the beginning of 'the liquidation'

Raoul Pal: The stock market is behaving the way it did back in 2000

Hedge fund titans warn of financial crisis-like market signals

How one fund manager is preparing for the market liquidity crisis

Raoul Pal: the Brexit vote is about so much more than Britain leaving the EU