Soros Trims His Hedges

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George Soros was once the candy man for financial market high rollers; now he's looking to become Dr. Weil. The Financial Times reported Tuesday that Soros will close down his Quantum Emerging Market Growth fund and merge two other hedge funds in a move designed to change the tone of his Quantum group. "This is a sign that Soros plans to play it safe until the dust settles in the world economy," says TIME senior business reporter Bernard Baumohl. "He is consolidating his fund's investments under the control of Stanley Druckenmiller, who is a more cautious money manager." And Soros would have more cause than most to show caution -- his fund suffered a $2 billion hit in Russia alone this year, and his emerging-market fund was down 31 percent for the year.

One long-term implication of Quantum's restructuring may be the dimming of the billionaire financier's aura: "Soros was viewed with awe because he appeared to have the Midas touch," says Baumohl. "Now he seems distinctly mortal."