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The Business On... Sir John Beckwith, Serial entrepreneur

Beckwith, Beckwith, don't I recognise that name?

You're probably thinking of Tamara, sometime C-list celebrity, socialite, reality TV star and dater of actors. She is, in fact, Sir John's niece and the daughter of his brother Peter who's made truckloads of cash from property. So Tamara has never had to, you know, really work for a living.


Sorry. Couldn't help that one. Like his brother, Sir John, is more commonly found on the business pages than the society pages. The two old Harrovians set up their first company when John was 24. London & Edinburgh went from minnow to one of Britain's biggest property companies in fairly short order. Sir John has added to his fortune by backing a string of fund management firms.

So what's he up to now?

Well, having sold his last venture, Thames River Capital, to F&C Asset Management last year, he's at it again with no less than Michael Spencer, the Icap boss and one of Britain's most successful entrepreneurs.

A formidable combination

Very. If that wasn't enough, Jim Pettigrew, the former Icap finance director, is also reportedly involved and Rod Barker from International Standard Asset Management, the fund group, will come in as chief executive. International Standard was set up by none other than Sir Stanley Fink, the former Man Group boss.

All action, then?

Yes, Sir John probably won't have any trouble keeping up with his membership of the Berkshire Royal Golf Club when this little venture comes to fruition. He could buy it twice over. Top of the range Nikes for his marathon running shouldn't be too much of a problem either.

A sporty type?

Just a bit. It should come as no surprise that he has received an honorary degree from Loughborough University. He thinks sport can have a "positive role" in changing people's lives after witnessing an incident of "extreme" anti-social behaviour some years ago, and now donates much time (and money) to that end.