Ex rugby ace trades place with Tory hedge fund millionaire

One of the City's most colourful bankers, Alex Snow, is to become chief executive of Lansdowne Partners, the hedge fund manager which made a killing selling shares in British banks during the financial crisis.

Mr Snow, 44, is replacing Sir Paul Ruddock, who has been a major backer of the Conservative Party and is standing down to spend more time on his philanthropic works.

Lansdowne Partners has been one of London's most successful hedge funds. It was set up by Sir Paul and Steven Heinz in 1998, and currently manages $13.4bn (£8.8bn), largely on behalf of big institutional investors. The two founders contributed some £300,000 to the Tory party during the early 2000s.

The firm was reported to have made around £100m betting against Northern Rock's share price shortly before the former building society collapsed in 2007 and had to be nationalised. In 2009 the hedge fund again short-sold Barclays shares, making a profit of £12m in just four trading days.

But Mayfair-based Lansdowne has also made huge profits by betting on companies rather than against them. And unlike many hedge funds it prefers to take long-term bets rather than trading in and out of shares on a daily basis.

Three years ago it became the second largest shareholder in Lloyds Banking Group after the Government. For a time that looked a bad bet as Lloyds shares more than halved in value. But in recent months as the share price has moved ahead of the price paid by the taxpayer Lansdowne's gamble has paid off.

Other high-profile companies in which it is a major shareholder include Nike, Ryanair and Manchester United.

Lansdowne's main fund, the Developed Market fund, which accounts for $10bn of the assets under management, produced an 18 per cent return for investors last year and is 16 per cent ahead so far this year.

Mr Snow, a former Harlequins and England rugby player, sold Evolution, the investment bank he created in 2001, to the Anglo-South African finance giant Investec for £230m after a two-way bid battle with Canaccord two years ago. The often outspoken banker made some £5m personally from the deal. He quit Investec earlier this month.

He said: "I am delighted to be joining Lansdowne, and am excited by the prospect of working with such talented professionals across the organisation. Lansdowne has an enviable heritage, and I look forward to helping it develop its position as one of the leading investment firms in Europe."

He will join the firm in September and become a partner. Lansdowne employs 87 in its London office.

Sir Paul, who is reckoned to be worth £300m, steps down at the end of this month. He is chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and he and his wife Jill have funded renovations of major galleries there and at the British Museum. He is heavily involved in charitable work in Africa and also supports the Donmar Warehouse.

He donated £259,500 in cash and £6,095 through sponsorship to the Tories between 2003 and 2009, according to Electoral Commission records.

Mr Snow is understood to have no political affiliations and has not given to any party.

Lansdowne's Mr Heinz said: "Alex has been known to members of the management committee for many years, and has the combination of management experience, energy and drive which we believe is necessary to lead Lansdowne going forward."

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor