Mike Platt, a Preston-born financier who started investing at the age of 14 with a £500 gift from his grandmother, has been named Britain’s richest hedge fund manager with a £3bn fortune.
Platt, 49, the co-founder and chief executive of Belgravia-based BlueCrest capital management, has increased his wealth by £600m over the past year to retain his crown as the richest hedge fund manager, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
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BlueCrest, which is not open to outside investors and only invests Platt and his partners’ wealth, made a 57% gain last year on top of a 20% increase in 2016.
Platt, who claims to have never suffered an annual loss, spends a lot of his wealth on art, which he displays in the crypt of a deconsecrated church in Marylebone. The collection includes a black Christ in an electric chair beside skulls, stags’ heads, 5bn-year-old meteorites, a Japanese woman riding a walrus and the levitation of St John the Baptist. There are pieces by the taxidermist Polly Morgan, the Turner prize-winner Keith Tyson and Reece Jones.
A Tory party donor, Platt also owns a Bombardier Challenger private jet and homes in London, Switzerland and the US. His first investments, funded by his grandmother, were in Britain’s privatised utilities.
The second richest UK hedge fund manager is Robert Miller and his daughter, Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, who increased their wealth by £420m to £2bn. Miller, the co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers (DFS) chain, invests his family fortune via the Hong Kong-based hedge fund Search Investment Group.
Sir Michael Hintze, who runs CQS, is ranked third with a £1.4bn fortune. Hintze, who gave £1.5m to the Conservative party in 2014, increased his wealth by £100m.
A noted philanthropist who has given £1m in the past year to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, he describes CQS as: “A special place. A place where people are intellectually stimulated and do exceptional things, and where agile minds work powerfully and nimbly together. I thrive on the ‘battle of ideas’ and love the business.” CQS has £9bn under management and increased the value of its main fund by more than 30% last year.
However, the personal wealth of David Harding, another philanthropic hedge fund manager, fell by £300m to £1bn after profits at his fund Winton Capital halved to £107.3m.
The top 20 UK hedge fund managers are collectively worth more than £16bn.
Robert Watts, compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, which is published this weekend, said: “The recent volatility of global stock markets have provided opportunities for the City’s richest hedgies to gild their wealth.
“But life as a billionaire hedge fund manager is not a one-way bet. Four big names of the hedge fund world have seen big falls in their wealth over the past year. Managers tend to invest heavily in their funds, so if their fund bombs so does their own wealth.”