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
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
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 BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments