NEW YORK (TheStreet) — At the start of the week, the financial media wires buzzed with news that legendary investor George Soros was planning to return funds to outside investors. Heading forward, the investor will continue to manage his family’s assets.
This move marks a dramatic transition for Soros. Although he has made a name for himself over four decades for his investing prowess, the billionaire is perhaps best known for his wildly successful-though-controversial currency trade in 1992 which earned him over $1 billion and led many to refer to him as, “the man who broke the Bank of England.”
Given Soros’ success and notoriety, it is not surprising that commentators have begun to discuss the reasoning for his decision. Many believe his decision was due to concerns about increased regulation stemming from the passage of the Dodd-Frank reform bill.
Soros is actually the latest well-known name from the financial industry in the headlines in recent months. In March, for example, it was announced that corporate raider Carl Icahn would be returning capital to outside investors.
With a number of closely followed and well-established financial icons announcing major changes, it will be interesting to see if attention shifts to other well-known names to determine who’s next.
Warren Buffett is one person whose future plans may once again come up as this conversation continues.
Buffett’s succession has long been one of the most talked about and closely guarded mysteries in the financial realm. The illustrious investor and philanthropist has never been one to shy away from the spotlight. However, when it comes to talking about the future leadership of the Berkshire Hathaway empire, he has always been uncharacteristically quiet. Although he has assured investors that a replacement has been chosen, the billionaire notes that the name is sealed in an envelope locked away at the company’s Omaha headquarters.
Periodically, this coyness sparks rampant speculation from market commentators, analysts, and Buffett enthusiasts. Names that have been thrown around to lead Berkshire 2.0 have included recently departed NetJets head, David Sokol; Ajit Jain, CEO of Berkshire’s reinsurance division; and Matt Rose, leader of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.
In late 2010, followers got their first taste of what is likely to come for Berkshire Hathaway post-Buffett when the investor announced that relatively-unknown hedge fund manager, Todd Combs would take over the reigns as the company’s newest chief investment officer. Following this announcement, Buffett explained that, upon his departure, Berkshire’s CEO, chairman and head of investments positions would be split up.
Warrren Buffett’s future plans may come into question as commentators examine and analyze the major announcements by other financial titans like Soros. However, I do not feel that a dramatic change is in the cards for the Oracle of Omaha and Berkshire Hathaway at this time. Although more responsibility may be placed on leaders like Combs, Jain and others as we look ahead, the captain’s chair is not set to be relinquished.
Buffett on more than one occasion has quipped that he intends to work until his is 100. Fans and followers can expect plenty more from this investor in the months and years ahead.