The irony of David Harding, top Remain donor, who earned £828m after Leave won the EU referendum

Harding donated £3.5 million to the Remain campaign

Zlata Rodionova@zlata07
Monday 04 July 2016 10:05
Harding said there was 'a scary piquant irony' in Winton’s performance.
Harding said there was 'a scary piquant irony' in Winton’s performance.

The hedge fund owned by a prominent doinor of the Remain campaign earned a multi-million consolation prize after Britain’s historic decision to leave the EU.

David Harding, the billionaire founder of Winton Capital Management who donated £3.5 million to the Remain campaign, has earned $1.1 billion (£828 million) in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Winton Capital oversees more than $34 billion and uses automated computer programmes to trade.The London-based fund gained 3.1 per cent on Friday June 24, helped by bets against the pound and euro, according to a client’s note.

The pound plunged to its lowest since 1985 while global stocks tumbled and gold rallied as the referendum results came in early on Friday morning.

Harding said there was “a scary piquant irony” in Winton’s performance.

“I’ve lost with this hand but made with this hand,” he told the Sunday Times.

“But the money has been made by our clients. It’s all their money, not mine. It’s money we have made for pensioners around the world,” he added.

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Harding is unlikely to earn directly from this gains but the rise healped the fund recover earlier losses.

Hedge funds that had sold short, or bet against, company stocks perceived by the market to be most vulnerable to the UK leaving the EU made some of the largest gains on their positions on Friday.

Crispin Odey, the founder of Odey Asset Management and a vocal supporter of the Leave campaign, bet his $10 billion company’s assets on a fall in financial markets, including short trading positions and bets on gold.

His bets against the housebuilder Berkeley Group, which fell in value by more than a fifth in the wake of a referendum and stocks including Lloyds helped him reap profits of £220 million. That helped recoup losses of 30 per cent in his fund leading up to the vote.

George Soros, known as the man who “broke” the bank of England in 1992, also profited hugely from the UK’s surprise exit from the EU.

Although the exact amount Mr Soros has gained after Brexit is not known, public filings show he doubled his bets earlier this year that stocks would fall.

But not all companies made gains on UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Shares in Hargreaves Lansdown dropped in value from 1,389p ahead of the vote to 1,056p on Monday, wiping £400 million off the market value of the company in two trading days.

Peter Hargreaves, who owns one third of the shares in the financial advice company and gave £3.2 million to the Leave campaign ahead of the vote, said he had no regrets about the money he spent, despite hundreds of millions being wiped off his fortune.

Tim Martin, chairman and founder of JD Wetherspoon, was another Leave campaign supporter who has seen £18 million wiped off the value of his shares in the days following the vote.

Martin campaigned for Brexit though his network of 920 pubs and went as far as printing beer mats calling for the UK to leave the EU.

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