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September 19, 2011 5:08 pm
Soros Fund Management has appointed Scott Bessent, a former employee of the firm who headed its London office at the time of its famous bet against sterling, as its new chief investment officer.
The move comes barely two months after the hedge fund founded by George Soros announced its intention to return all external investor funds and highlights the extent to which SFM, which still manages more than $24bn, continues to command considerable clout in the investment community.
SFM said in July it was converting itself into a family office to sidestep new US financial regulations that require hedge funds to register with the SEC and meet exacting reporting standards.
Mr Bessent’s appointment was announced in a letter sent to all SFM staff on Monday, a copy of which was obtained by the Financial Times.
Mr Soros, who remains the firm’s chairman, also announced that his son Jonathan would be stepping down from the “day-to-day” running of the organisation.
“Jonathan has spent nine years at SFM advancing the interests of our family and of the foundation that will eventually receive my estate,” Mr Soros wrote, adding that Jonathan had been “the principal architect of our transition to a healthy and stable investment operation”.
“Jonathan will be chairman of the foundation and will engage with SFM in the future as a representative of its principal client,” the letter concluded.
Mr Bessent has meanwhile ditched his own plans to launch a new hedge fund, KeySquare Group, which had been aiming to raise as much as $1bn.
“In late August, I was approached by George Soros and his sons to interview for the role of chief investment officer at their family office, Soros Fund Management. This week, they formally offered me the position, and I have accepted,” Mr Bessent told potential investors in KeySquare.
Mr Bessent was formerly one of SFM’s most senior employees.
Between 1991 and 2000 he was the head of the firm’s London office, overseeing the firm’s $1bn bet against the British pound in 1992, constructed by his colleague Stanley Druckenmiller.
Mr Bessent also served as SFM’s head of global research and co-head of external manager selection before he left the firm to set up his own hedge fund, Bessent Capital, after SFM announced a restructuring.
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