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Romney Trust Traded Foreign Currency

The 2011 Romney trust return shows short-term trades in the Swedish krona, Norwegian krone, and Australian dollar. An unusual investment.

Posted on September 25, 2012, at 9:50 p.m. ET

Mitt Romney's 2011 trust return shows fast-paced trades of foreign currencies, including the Swedish krona, Norwegian krone, Canadian dollar, and Austrian dollar.

The majority of the currencies were acquired on August 19 and sold shortly thereafter on the 23rd and 24th, indicating that Romney's trust managers could have used currency hedges to create gains or losses on foreign stock holdings.

The trades came at one of many moments of concern about European banks.

It's unclear why Romney was swapping foreign currencies, but the transactions stand out as another curiosity within Romney's lengthy 2011 returns, released by his campaign last Friday.

The GOP candidate's trust is managed for him by Boston lawyer R. Bradford Malt, and Romney characterizes it as a "blind trust," though he has given Malt general instructions to trade in accordance with his public political stands.

The Romney campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the trades.

Update: The trades were most likely used to hedge investments exposed to exchange-rate risk, a common use of currency hedges, according to Brian Galle, a tax law professor at Boston College Law School who analyzed Romney's returns. Romney's trust manager would have offset risk on a foreign investment by also buying a position in that country's currency. Although not uncommon, the currency hedges do reflect the diversity and complexity of the Romney family's investments.

Correction: An earlier version of this item said Romney lost money on the trades.