Arpad Busson

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Arpad Busson
Born (1963-01-27) 27 January 1963 (age 57)
OccupationFinancier, philanthropist
Partner(s)Elle Mcpherson
Uma Thurman
(2007–2009; 2011–2014)

Arpad Busson (born 27 January 1963) is a French financier. Busson entered the world of hedge funds in 1986 working in New York.[1] He is the founder and Chairman of the EIM Group, a fund of funds company. Busson is also active in a number of philanthropic causes around the globe. According to the French business magazine Challenges, he has a net worth of €290 million at 2013.

Early life[edit]

Arpad Busson's father, Pascal Busson, was a former French army officer and Algerian War veteran, who later turned financier.[2] His mother, Florence "Flockie" Harcourt-Smith, was an English former debutante. His parents met in Paris and named their son after the Hungarian-born banker Árpád Plesch (1889–1974), who not only was Florence's step-father (he was the second husband of her mother, Marysia Ulam Krauss Harcourt-Smith), but had also been her step-grandfather (Plesch's first wife, Leonie Caro Ulam, was his second wife's mother).[3] Plesch was a mentor to Italy's richest man, Gianni Agnelli, the late head of Fiat.[4] Busson's aunt, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, was a companion of Timothy Leary, who coincidentally was married in the early 1960s to Nena von Schlebrügge, the mother of Arpad's partner Uma Thurman.[5]

Some sources have suggested that, while growing up in France, Busson made early profits selling toothpicks door-to-door (which he denies),[6] but he was educated in France and at the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland. He then passed through national service as a medical orderly in the French army, of which a friend said: "He loved the discipline of the army – it was the making of him.".[7]

On being demobilised, Busson had a well-publicised relationship with the actress Farrah Fawcett and appeared in tabloid gossip columns.[citation needed] As he often refuses to give interviews, stories surround Busson – the story about Fawcett is that they met on the French Riviera. The story is only partly true, in that it was perpetuated by the gossip columnist "Taki" as a sort of in-joke: Taki knew Busson's mother, who was friends with Fawcett.[6]

Finance career[edit]

Busson entered the world of hedge funds in 1986 working with Dubin Swieca.[8] He was later employed as a marketing representative for Paul Tudor Jones's fund Tudor Investments.

In 1991, Busson founded the EIM Group to provide fund-of-fund management services to the growing institutional market for hedge funds.[9] On 8 December 2008, EIM Group was reported as being a victim of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.[10]

In 1994 he was accused of money laundering working for the Ben Ladin bank in Geneva managing hedge funds for the Ben Ladin brothers prior the attacks in New York. He did not deny being a hedge fund manager in the British Virgin Island; he was at some point arrested and questioned by the FBI to trace funds for Al Qaeda Saudi terrorism networks . [11]

In December 2013, Busson merged his EIM group with Swiss listed investment company Gottex Fund Management Holdings.[12][13] In July 2015, Busson was named the next executive chairman of Gottex Fund Management for the interim, following Joachim Gottschalk stepping down from the position and finding a permanent executive chairman.[14]

Gottex Fund Management rebranded itself as LumX and was eventually delisted from the Swiss Stock Exchange in June 2020 after suffering losses of more than $55 million the previous five years, essentially ending Busson's time as a hedge fund manager.[15][16]


Busson is a proponent of "venture philanthropy",[17] which seeks to multiply the effectiveness of charitable pursuits by applying to them the same management practices which are used in business ventures.

He is a founding trustee of the children's charity ARK (Absolute Return for Kids) and serves as chairman of its board of directors.[18] Busson held the post of Chairman since the charity's inception. He stepped down from that position in 2009 but remains a member of the Board as founding chairman, and as chairman of ARK US. ARK raises charitable contributions from the hedge fund industry for children who are victims of abuse, disability, illness and poverty.[citation needed] ARK finances and manages projects aimed at transforming the lives of children in Eastern Europe, South Africa and the UK through education and healthcare.[19]

The annual Ark Dinner hosted by Busson sees a range of high-profile individuals attend the event to raise money for the charity. Previous years have seen the likes of Bill Clinton (2006),[20] Queen Rania of Jordan (2010)[21] and in 2011 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took the limelight as Prince William announced a joint venture by the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry and the Ark charity.[22]

Its activities include funding treatment for AIDS victims in Africa, taking children out of care in Bulgaria and Romania and developing educational opportunities for disadvantaged children in India.[23] It also operates eight academies, six of which are in London, through its subsidiary charity ARK Academies.[24]

Busson says of ARK, "If we can apply the entrepreneurial principles we have brought to business to charity, we have a shot at having a really strong impact, to be able to transform the lives of children."[4]

He is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation[25] and a founding member of Theodora Children's Trust,[26] a charity which brings music, magic and laughter to children in hospital through visits from performers known as "Giggle Doctors".

Personal life[edit]

Busson began a relationship with Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson in 1996.[27] They have two sons together: Arpad Flynn Busson, known as Flynn (born February 1998 in New York City),[28] and Aurelius Cy Andrea Busson (born February 2003 in London).[29] The family lived together in London until Busson and Macpherson's separation in July 2005.[27]

Busson began dating American actress Uma Thurman in 2007[30] and they announced their engagement in June 2008.[31] In December 2009, it was reported that the two had ended their engagement,[32] but they reconciled and dated soon after their daughter's birth.[33] Busson and Thurman have one daughter together, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson, known as Luna (born July 2012 in Boston, MA).[34] The couple called off the engagement for the second time in April 2014.[35] In January 2017, Thurman and Busson began a custody battle for their daughter.[36] Thurman ultimately received primary physical custody later that month.[37]

In 2012, Busson sold Andy Warhol's portrait Mao (1973) for $12 million at Phillips in New York.[38]


  1. ^ Costello, Miles (31 December 2007). Monday manifesto: Arpad Busson; Retrieved 29 June 2008 from
  2. ^ "A rich man but a 'pretty poor playboy'". The Daily Telegraph. London. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  3. ^ Etti (Mrs Arpad) Plesch, Horses & Husbands: The Memoirs of Etti Plesch, Dorset: Dovecote Press, pp. 130–139
  4. ^ a b "Can this 'venture philanthropist' save our schools?". The Observer. London. 29 May 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  5. ^ Etti (Mrs Arpad) Plesch, Horses & Husbands: The Memoirs of Etti Plesch, Dorset: Dovecote Press, pp. 130–139
  6. ^ a b Walsh, Katie (18 May 2008). "Arpad Busson, a hedge fund 'hippy'". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 18 May 2008.
  7. ^ Ian Cobain (6 July 2005). "From playboy to playgrounds: the speculator turned philanthropist with big plans for pupils". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  8. ^ "EIM targets institutional market". Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  9. ^ "EIM Group - The Firm". Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  10. ^ "Bernard Madoff 'fraud': Betrayed by their best friend". The Daily Telegraph. London. 19 December 2008.
  11. ^ "FBI questions Mayfair firm about Bin Laden finances". the Guardian. November 22, 2001.
  12. ^ Goodway, Nick (16 December 2013). "Millionaire Arpad Busson to merge his hedge fund firm with Gottex". The Independent. London.
  13. ^ "Gottex to buy Arpad Busson's EIM group in all share deal". Retrieved 7 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Arpad 'Arki' Busson takes the reins at Gottex Fund Management as". The Independent. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  15. ^ "You Don't Have Arki Busson To Kick Around Anymore - Dealbreaker". Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  16. ^ "Arki Busson delists struggling hedge fund after multi-million pound losses". 2020-06-25. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  17. ^ Moss, Stephen (30 June 2008). "Stephen Moss talks to hedge fund king and philanthropist, Arpad Busson". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  18. ^ "Who we are | Ark Schools". Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  19. ^ "International programmes | Ark Schools". Archived from the original on 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  20. ^ Cahill, Tom; Baker, Stephanie (14 May 2010). "Queen Rania, the Killers Help Ark to Raise 14 Million Pounds". Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  21. ^ "BUSINESS GRANDEES RUB SHOULDERS WITH CELEBS AT ARK EXTRAVAGANZA". 13 May 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  22. ^ "A rich man but a 'pretty poor playboy'". The Daily Telegraph. London: TMG. 11 June 2011. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
  23. ^ Walsh, Katie (2008-05-18). "Arpad Busson, a hedge fund 'hippy'". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
  24. ^ Charity Commission. ARK Academies, registered charity no. 1111608.
  25. ^ "Our Patrons - Elton John AIDS Foundation". Elton John AIDS Foundation. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12. Retrieved 2018-11-22.
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b Silverman, Stephen M. (2005-06-24). "Supermodel Elle Macpherson, Partner Split". People. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  28. ^ "Elle Macpherson Gives Birth To Son In Manhattan". Chicago Tribune. 1998-02-17. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Elle's new baby Aurelius". Sunday Morning Herald. 2003-02-07. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  30. ^ Singh, Anita (27 June 2008). "Actress Uma Thurman Engaged to Arpad Busson". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  31. ^ Lye, Bethany (27 June 2008). "Uma Thurman Engaged to Multimillionaire". People. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  32. ^ Hamm, Liza; Lye Miga, Bethany (8 December 2009). "Uma Thurman Calls Off Engagement". People. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  33. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth (27 February 2012). "Uma Thurman Expecting Third Child". People. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Uma Thurman Daughter's Name Revealed". People. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  35. ^ "Uma Thurman and Arpad Busson Call Off Engagement Again". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 22, 2014. Archived from the original on April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
  36. ^ Patrick Sawer (January 14, 2017). "Uma Thurman and her financier former partner in custody battle". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  37. ^ Jodi Guglielmi (January 27, 2017). "Uma Thurman and Arpad Busson End Custody Battle: Report". People. Time Inc. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  38. ^ Carol Vogel (November 15, 2012), Warhol Painting of Mao Tops Auction at Phillips New York Times.