David Harding (financier)

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David Harding
David Winton Harding

August 1961 (age 62)
Oxford, England
Alma mater
OccupationInvestment Management
Years active1982 to present
Known forFounder of Winton Group

Sir David Winton Harding (born August 1961) is a British billionaire businessman, and the founder and CEO of Winton Group.[1] He had previously co-founded Man AHL (formerly Adam, Harding & Lueck).[2] His approach favours quantitative investment strategies, using scientific research as the basis of trading decisions.

Harding is also known for his philanthropy, which includes a £100m donation to the University of Cambridge, the largest ever donation by a British citizen to a university.[3] Harding has also endowed the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory at Cambridge's Faculty of Mathematics, and established the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.[4]

With respect to scientific research, he has established a research programme into the physics of sustainability at Cambridge University's Cavendish Laboratory. Politically, Harding has served as the joint-treasurer of Britain Stronger in Europe and chairman of the BSIE finance committee.

Education and early career[edit]

David Winton Harding was born in August 1961.[5] He was educated at the University of Cambridge where he attended St. Catharine's College.[5] At Cambridge, Harding studied natural sciences and in 1982 he graduated from his BA with first class honours.[6][7] Later that year he began a traineeship at Wood Mackenzie, a stockbroker.[8] After two years, he joined the futures brokerage firm, Johnson Matthey & Wallace, as a trader in commodity futures.[6][8][9]

Investment management[edit]

In 1985, Harding became a futures trader at Sabre Fund Management, one of the first commodity trading advisors (CTAs) in the United Kingdom.[10] He drew on his scientific background to design trading programs for futures markets.[8] He remained with the firm for two years,[7] until founding Adam, Harding & Lueck (AHL) in 1987 with Michael Adam and Martin Lueck.[7][8][10]

The firm created AHL as a quantitatively focused CTA.[8] In 1989, ED & F Man (which later became the Man Group) purchased a 51 percent stake in the firm.[8] When Man bought the whole firm in 1994,[11][6][7][10] Harding became head of Man Quantitative Research.[7][12] In 1996, he left to set up his own firm. According to Barron's, Harding had left Man after becoming frustrated by lack of focus on research and the bureaucracy of working in a large firm.[11][10]

Winton Group[edit]

Harding founded Winton, an investment management firm, in 1997. It was named after his middle name and his father's first name.[13][7] According to Hedge Fund Review magazine, his aim was to demonstrate that a business can be successful based on empirical scientific research, rather than relying on marketing.[6] Harding recruited scientists to the firm to create a strong research environment[14] and to use quantitative, statistical research of market data to inform his trading decisions.[8]

The fund had been launched in 1997 with $1.6 million in assets; as of 2013, the fund had returned on average 15% net per year.[15] As of February 2016, Winton had over $30 billion in assets under management.[16]

Harding has been described by industry commentators as "one of the pioneers of the hedge fund industry".[2][11] He has been ranked among the top 50 hedge fund managers worldwide by Alpha magazine,[17] which added him to their "Hedge Fund Hall of Fame",[18] and he was listed at 95 on the Sunday Times Rich List 2016.[19]

In September 2012, Harding was named at the top of a list of Britain's biggest taxpayers.[20] Within 6 days, Harding revealed that "he was paying £34 million in tax on his £87m income."[21][22]

In 2012 he became the firm's majority owner.[23] Harding had previously served as Winton's president and executive chairman.[1][24] In 2015 he became CEO.[23]

In April 2016, his net worth was estimated to be £1.1bn.[25][13]


Harding has made major donations to educational and research institutions through his Winton Charitable Foundation.[26] The foundation funded a professorship at the Statistical Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, the Winton Professorship of the Public Understanding of Risk, aimed at increasing understanding of the mathematics of risk for individuals and organisations.[6][14][27] Harding is also the patron of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin,[8] which opened in 2009.[28]

Harding's foundation, the David and Claudia Harding Foundation, has pledged £20 million to the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory to establish The Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability, an advanced research programme to apply theoretical physics to issues of the sustainability of natural resources.[29][30][31] The donation to the Cavendish is the largest since the famous laboratory was established in 1874.[31] Harding is one of the administrators of the Winton Fund for the Physics of Sustainability, which manages the programme's funding.[32]

In 2011, Winton began a five-year sponsorship of the Royal Society Prizes for Science Books which was rechristened the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.[33] Harding's foundation has also committed £5m to the Francis Crick Institute in London for cancer research.[29] In 2014, it provided a £5 million donation to the Science Museum in London, the largest single donation in the museum's history, to build a gallery of mathematics.[34][35][36]

In 2019 Harding donated £100m to Cambridge University, the largest donation by a British citizen to any university. The funds will go towards supporting the Harding Scholars, a distinguished postgraduate scholarship system for more than 100 PhD students, similar to the Rhodes Scholarship and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.[37] Additional funding will be used to attract students from under-represented groups, allowing Cambridge to recruit the best and brightest students regardless of their social situation. Harding's £100m benefaction was a landmark donation for UK fundraising efforts and closely followed other major donations by leading US entrepreneurs including Michael Bloomberg, Stephen Schwarzman, and Jaffray Woodriff.[37]

Harding was knighted in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to philanthropy.[38] The Labour Party suggested it was a consequence of his Conservative Party donations.[39][40]

Political activity[edit]

In November 2015, he was announced as joint-treasurer of Britain Stronger in Europe and chairman of the finance committee.[41] In May 2016, it was announced that Harding had donated £3.5 million to the campaign.[42][43]

Harding is a Conservative Party donor. He donated almost £1 million to the party whilst David Cameron was in power and during the 2019 general election donated £200,000 to the party, stating in an interview that he would consider leaving the country if a Labour government targeted hedge fund companies and increased taxes.[44][45]


Harding has five children[46] and is married to Claudia Harding.[47][20]


  1. ^ a b Kristen Hallam (22 April 2013). "Goldman Partner to Help Raise Funds for Crick Institute". Bloomberg. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b Barry Cohen (November 2007). "Winton's Winning Formula". Absolute Return.
  3. ^ "Cambridge university receives £100m in record UK donation". Financial Times. 5 February 2019.(subscription required)
  4. ^ "Charity Details". beta.charitycommission.gov.uk.
  5. ^ a b "Winton Capital Management Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e "A Head for Numbers". Hedge Fund Review. August 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Profile: Winton wonderland". FOW Magazine. October 2006.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Leah McGrath Goodman (April 2008). "The Wizard of Winton". TraderDaily.com. p. 106.
  9. ^ Roberta C. Yafie (22 July 1986). "Mocatta Futures to buy JMB's brokerage unit". American Metal Market. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d Jack Willoughby (29 June 2009). "Trend Tracker". Barron's Hedge Funds.
  11. ^ a b c "Harding's Hedge Fund Thrives on Surprise". Reuters Hedgeworld. 16 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Profile: Winton wonderland – David Harding's Winton Capital takes a stand against rising exchange fees". Futures & Options World (FOW). 1 October 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b "David Harding reports hedge fund loss in 2012". 9 January 2013 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  14. ^ a b Bill McIntosh (8 October 2007). "GSAM Fund Buys Stake in Winton". HedgeWorld Daily News.
  15. ^ Margie Lindsay (21 June 2013). "Winton Futures Fund: Winton Capital Management". Risk. Archived from the original on 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  16. ^ "Managed Futures AUM: How Big is It Exactly?". ValueWalk. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  17. ^ Katherine Griffiths (19 August 2008). "Finance at its very highest; Britain's biggest private companies". The Daily Telegraph (London). p. 7.
  18. ^ "Alpha Hedge Fund Hall of Fame:The Iconoclasts". Alpha. Euromoney Institutional Investor. 8. 2014.
  19. ^ "Rich List 2016". The Sunday Times. 24 April 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  20. ^ a b Chris Newlands (1 June 2014). "Winton: 'People are frightened of us'". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  21. ^ Nicholas Hellen (6 June 2013). "Rich man pays his taxes – shock". The Sunday Times. Archived from the original on 30 September 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  22. ^ Matthew Sparkes (30 September 2012). "Hedge fund founder David Harding reveals £34m tax bill". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  23. ^ a b Harriet Agnew (24 January 2012). "David Harding realises dream at Winton". E-Financial News. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  24. ^ Ben Wright (2 March 2014). "Winton Capital Plans Expansion Drive With Up To 100 New Hires By Year-End". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Sunday Times Rich List". The Sunday Times. No. 34. 26 April 2014.
  26. ^ "The Winton Charitable Foundation". charitiesdirect.com. Charities Direct. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  27. ^ "Cambridge appoints Professor of Risk". news.admin.cam.ac.uk. University of Cambridge. 12 January 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  28. ^ "New Harding Center for Risk Literacy". mpib-berlin.mpg.de. Max Planck Institute for Human Development. 21 April 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  29. ^ a b "Rich List 2014". The Sunday Times. 18 May 2014. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Physics of sustainability programme launched at Cavendish". news.admin.cam.ac.uk. University of Cambridge. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  31. ^ a b "£20 million donation to revolutionise physics research". news.admin.cam.ac.uk. University of Cambridge. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  32. ^ "Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability Inaugural Celebration". winton.phy.cam.ac.uk. Winton Programme for the Physics of Sustainability. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  33. ^ "Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books Shortlist Announced". royalsociety.org.
  34. ^ Alex Bellos (10 September 2014). "Science Museum unveils £5m plan for 'world's foremost' mathematics gallery". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  35. ^ Louise Jury (10 September 2014). "Hedge fund boss gives £5 million to build new museum maths gallery". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  36. ^ Robert Dex (10 September 2014). "£5m Zaha Hadid-designed maths gallery for Science Museum". The Independent. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  37. ^ a b "David Harding's £100m gift to Cambridge University|date=5 February 2019". BBC News. 5 February 2019.
  38. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N2.
  39. ^ Mason, Rowena (31 December 2021). "Billionaire Tory donor knighted in new year honours list". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  40. ^ Smyth, Chris (31 December 2021). "New year honours: knighthood for £1m Tory donor David Harding". The Times. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  41. ^ David Hellier (12 November 2015). "Leading hedge fund manager backs campaign to stay in EU". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  42. ^ Danny Fortson (1 May 2016). "EU vote: money men unveiled". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  43. ^ Nicholas Winning; Lawrence Fletcher (11 May 2016). "Pro-Brexit Groups Gain Funding Edge in Run-Up to EU Referendum". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  44. ^ Newlands, Chris (13 February 2019). "An audience with David Harding: A second referendum? 'F*ck no'". Financial News. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  45. ^ "View donation". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  46. ^ Chris Newlands (24 September 2018). "An audience with David Harding: A second referendum? 'F*ck no'". Financial News. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  47. ^ Christine Williamson (15 September 2014). "Harding helps London museum open a gallery dedicated to math". Pensions & Investments. Retrieved 3 May 2016.