George Soros appears to have found that semi-retirement is not to his liking. Not only is Soros actively trading again, but he’s looking at the Brexit as an opportunity for the European Union to strengthen itself in the aftermath. Soros has laid out four action items, including separating membership in the European Union (EU) from the eurozone itself, tapping the credit markets for capital, strengthening its defense by supporting the Ukraine and properly dealing with the migrant crisis. (For related reading, see Who Will Be Next to Leave the EU?)
The focus on the Ukraine sticks out a bit if you are only familiar with Soros as an incredibly successful investor. Soros is perhaps better known for his political activism in some parts of the world, particularly when it comes to countries that were once under Soviet rule. Having experienced some on the worst political conditions first hand in his youth in Nazi-controlled Hungary, Soros is a strong supporter of justice, education and independent media through his Open Society Foundation. During the 80s, Soros threw his considerable financial might into helping former communist countries embrace capitalism and democracy. Soros' involvement in the struggles of the Ukraine shows that he hasn't lost his passion for this cause. (See also, Why Is Ukraine At War? A Russian Rivalry With the West.)
Soros has been supportive of the Ukraine throughout the 2014 revolution, arguing that the EU needed Ukraine in order to defend against Russian aggression. In opinion pieces prior to his piece on Brexit, Soros outlined a strategy for the EU to fund Ukraine and jumpstart its economy. He also made investments in the country and pledged to invest $1 billion more into the Ukrainian economy if the West made more of an effort to support the struggling nation in its clash with Russia.
It is tempting to see all of Soros’ actions through the lens of investing. Buying Ukrainian IT, agriculture and energy assets on the cheap will pay off if the country emerges from this conflict and joins the EU, something the current Prime Minister of Ukraine clearly wants. However, the explicit support for the Ukraine by Soros and his continued calls to make Ukraine the EU’s top priority likely owe more to his philosophical and political leanings than his portfolio returns. Sometimes it isn’t just about the money.