Jim Mellon

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Jim Mellon
Born James Mellon
February 1957 (age 61)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Residence Port Erin, Isle of Man
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Oxford
Occupation Businessman
Net worth Increase £1.0 billion (May 2018)[1]

James Mellon (born February 1957), is a British billionaire businessman.

Early life[edit]

James Mellon was born in February 1957 in Edinburgh.[2] His father is the former diplomat, Sir James Mellon, who was High Commissioner to Ghana (1978–1983), Ambassador to Denmark (1983–1986) and Consul General in New York (1986–1988). The family are distantly related to the Pittsburgh Mellon banking dynasty.[3]

He was educated at Ampleforth College and then Oriel College, Oxford where he obtained a master's degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.[3][4]

Career[edit]

After university, in 1979, Mellon went to work as a trainee fund manager at Griffin Thornton (GT Management), spending six months in Hong Kong, before moving to San Francisco. Leaving with Richard Thornton in 1984 to cofound Thornton Management, Mellon returned to Hong Kong to run the company's operation there. Thornton sold for £25 million four years later, making him a millionaire aged 28. He then spent two years setting-up a Hong Kong operation for Tyndall Holdings.[4][5][3]

Along with Jayne Sutcliffe in 1992, he founded Regent Pacific as an emerging markets investment vehicle, with Sir John Templeton their first customer. In 1994 came what Mellon calls his "first really big break". Having read about privatization in Russia he travelled to Moscow and find Russians selling vouchers on the streets that could be swapped for stock in Russian industries. In a single day he and Sutcliffe spent $2 million in the covered markets buying the vouchers for about $25 each from "old ladies" who thought them worth no more "than a bottle of vodka". A few weeks later the shares were worth $17 million.[3][4]

A spin-off of from Regent Pacific that specialises in Eastern Europe, the fund management firm Charlemagne Capital, was also founded in the 1990s and listed on the stock market in 2006.[3][6]

The 1998 Russian financial crisis was disastrous for Regent, with the value of investments in the company's Russian and East European funds becoming almost worthless, and most of its cash tied-up in local currency bonds as the rouble was devalued.[5]

When Regent Pacific acquired a stake in Hambros Bank, Mellon launched a public attack on the board's performance which preceded the break-up of the bank. This and Regent's methods of breaking-up of closed-end funds led to accusations of asset stripping and a 1997 Business Week article referred to him and the company's investment director, Peter Everington as "the Bad Boys of Emerging Markets". In 2009 Mellon said "in hindsight I was overly vociferous, and I have not done it again like that — I’m now more behind the scenes".[3][7]

Along with Stephen Dattels, Mellon founded the uranium mining company Uramin in 2005 with just $100,000. Also listed on the stock market in 2006, it sold the following year to Areva for around £1.6 billion, reportedly making him about £80 million. Areva later had to accept a huge write-down in Uramin's value.[4][8]

He is still non-executive chairman at Regent Pacific,[9] and the executive co-chairman of the board of Fast Forward Innovations (formerly Kuala Innovations),[10] the non-executive chairman at Speymill Deutsche Immobilien Company PLC, Port Erin Biopharma Investments Limited and SalvaRx Group PLC (formerly 3Legs Resources).[11] He also holds non-executive directorships at Condor Gold PLC, Bradda Head Limited (formerly Life Science Developments) and Portage Biotech Inc.[12] He is also chairman of the Burnbrae Group.[13][14] And also founder and co-chairman (along with Johnny Hon) of Mann Bioinvest.[15]

He is also chairman of Manx Financial Group PLC (the parent company of Conister Bank), of which Brexiteer Arron Banks owns 25%.[16] Banks in 2008, also acquired a "notifiable interest", partly held by his Southern Rock Insurance group, in the gaming company Webis Holdings PLC (watchandwager.com) where Burnbrae holds a controlling stake and Sir James is a non-executive director.[17][18][19][20][21]

Mellon has said he (financially) “had a good day” after the Brexit vote with his trades returning almost 25 percent profit on the year.[22]

Politics[edit]

In 2009 was a leading financial backer of (then future Conservative Party Prime Minister) David Cameron and critical of the Labour government's "crazy crackdown on the non-domiciles who bring so much money and expertise into the country".[3]

Mellon is reportedly the man who first introduced Arron Banks to then UKIP leader Nigel Farage.[23][24]

He donated at least £100,000 towards campaigns to leave the EU in 2015.[25]

In March 2016, Mellon said he was less “ideologically committed” to Brexit than his friend Arron Banks, and that there were “good arguments to be made on both sides” of what he saw as a “nuanced” debate.[26]

In November 2016, Mellon felt that "Brexit is going to be a sideshow to the problems of Europe" and predicted that the Euro would not last, saying that "the euro as it stands at the moment is just a very inappropriate mechanism — I give the euro between one and five years of life."[22] He also serves on the executive board of the Initiative for Free Trade, a London-based research foundation founded by another prominent leave-supporter Daniel Hannan MEP, after the Brexit vote, that aims to promote free trade.[27][28]

Philanthropy[edit]

Mellon donated £100,000 to the Institute of Healthy Ageing at UCL, which allowed them to purchase a structured illumination microscope system.[29] He has also donated in excess of $25,000 to the Methuselah Foundation, which seeks to "help advance the fight against aging".[30]

Publications[edit]

  • Wake Up! Survive and Prosper in the Coming Economic Turmoil (2005)
  • The Top 10 Investments for the Next 10 Years (2008)
  • Top Ten Investments to Beat the Crunch! (2009)
  • Cracking the Code (co-author) (John Wiley, 2012)
  • Fast Forward (2015)
  • Juvenescence: Investing in the Age of Longevity (2017)

Personal life[edit]

Mellon lives on the Isle of Man.[2] In 2000, he was the largest landowner on the Isle of Man.[5] In 2012 he also had homes in Ibiza, Berlin, San Francisco and Brussels.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sunday Times Rich List". The Sunday Times (page 49). 13 May 2018. 
  2. ^ a b "Rich List 2017: #140, £920 million". The Sunday Times Magazine. 7 May 2017. p. 54. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ivan Lindsay (29 September 2009). "It's Going to the Dogs…". Spear's Magazine. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Natalie Graham (29 June 2012). "I'm an opportunistic plagiarist". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 July 2018. 
  5. ^ a b c "The energetic Jim Mellon is a man of many parts, writes Charlotte Parsons". South China Morning Post. 21 February 2000. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  6. ^ Andrew Oxlade (19 March 2015). "Jim Mellon: Now is the time for Britons to buy European property". Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  7. ^ Mark L Clifford (29 June 1997). "The Bad Boys Of Emerging Markets". Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved 12 July 2018. 
  8. ^ Ian Lyall (8 August 2012). "Britain's answer to Warren Buffett backs the biotech sector in new investing book". This is money. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  9. ^ "Regent Pacific Group Ltd (0575.HK)". reuters.com. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  10. ^ "FastForward Innovations Ltd (FFWD.L)". reuters.com. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  11. ^ "SalvaRx Group Plc (SALVS.L)". reuters.com. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  12. ^ "Board of Directors". Regent Pacific Group Limited. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  13. ^ "Jim Mellon". www.cityam.com. 
  14. ^ "Jim Mellon - Burnbrae". www.burnbrae.com. 
  15. ^ "Jim Mellon - Mann Bioinvest". www.mannbio.com. 
  16. ^ Alex Hawkes (24 September 2017). "Brexit 'bad boy' Arron Banks widens the net as he prepares to pump more cash into his Isle of Man bank". This is money. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  17. ^ "Holdings in Company". Press Release. Webis Holdings PLC. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  18. ^ Cynthia O'Murchu; Oliver Ralph (21 June 2018). "Insurance losses sharpen focus on finances of Arron Banks". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  19. ^ "Webis Holdings says Arron Banks buys 2.5 million shares in co". Webis Share News. Thomson Financial. 7 April 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  20. ^ "Webis Holdings - Major Shareholders". Webis Holdings PLC. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  21. ^ "Webis Holdings - Board Members". Webis Holdings PLC. Retrieved 1 July 2018. 
  22. ^ a b Stefania Spezzati (29 November 2016). "Investor who predicted Brexit now says the euro will collapse | Business News | News". The Independent. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  23. ^ Laura Pitel (3 October 2015). "Farage's millionaire donors find ways to save money on tax". The Times. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  24. ^ David D. Kirkpatrick; Matthew Rosenberg (29 June 2018). "Russians Offered Business Deals to Brexit's Biggest Backer". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 June 2018. 
  25. ^ Hope, Christopher (11 July 2015). "Millionaire Jim Mellon backs £20million 'anti-politics' campaign to leave EU as name revealed". Telegraph. Retrieved 8 May 2017. 
  26. ^ Andrew Ward (13 March 2016). "Brexit backer calls halt on scaremongering". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 July 2018. 
  27. ^ Lizzy Buchan (22 February 2018). "Boris Johnson under fire for waiving £6,000 fee for hard Brexit event at Foreign Office". Independent. 
  28. ^ "IFT". IFT. Retrieved 2018-01-30. 
  29. ^ "Philanthropic Donation to the Institute of Healthy Ageing". www.ucl.ac.uk. 
  30. ^ https://www.mfoundation.org/join-us/