Michael Hintze

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Sir Michael Hintze
Michael Hintze in 2011.jpg
Born (1953-07-27) 27 July 1953 (age 63)
Harbin, China
Residence London
Alma mater
Occupation Hedge fund manager
Organization CQS
Net worth
Religion Roman Catholicism[3]
Spouse(s) Dorothy
Children Four
Military career
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 3 years minimum service
Rank Captain

Sir Michael Hintze, AM (born 27 July 1953) is a British-Australian businessman, philanthropist and Conservative Party patron, based in the United Kingdom.

According to the 2016 Forbes magazine list of The World's Billionaires, he was the world's 1,011th richest person, with a net worth of approximately US$1.8 billion;[1][4][5] and according to the Australian BRW Rich 200 Hinze was Australia's 37th wealthiest individual with a net worth of A$1.32 billion in 2016.[2]

Early life[edit]

After his grandparents fled from Russia after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution,[5] he was born in the Chinese city of Harbin. After Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party took over power, his refugee parents left for Australia.[4]

Raised by his secretary mother in Sydney, he was educated at the local Christian Brothers school. He then studied at the University of Sydney where he obtained a BSc degree in physics in 1975 and a BE degree in engineering in 1977, residing at St John's College. He also holds an MSc degree in Acoustics from the University of New South Wales, an MBA degree from Harvard Business School, and an Honorary Doctorate of Business from the University of New South Wales.


On graduation, he joined the Australian Army for three years, rising to the rank of Captain.[4]

Moving to New York to train in financial services, he worked for Salomon Brothers and Credit Suisse First Boston. Relocating to London with them, he then joined Goldman Sachs, where his ultimate position was Co-head of the UK Shares Product. After not being offered a partnership by Goldman Sachs in 1994, he left the firm.

In 1999 he launched his own hedge fund company, CQS,[6] and has been cited in the press as one of the highest paid people in the City of London.[7] Hintze was ranked No. 5 on Financial News' FN100 Most Influential list in the hedge fund category.[8] CQS Asset Management, which has been described as "one of the world's leading credit market players"[9] has assets under management reported at $11 billion.[10] The CQS Directional Opportunities Fund, which is managed by Hintze, was ranked #3 on Bloomberg's list of the 100 top-performing large hedge funds for 2012.[11]

In 2013, Hintze's CQS received awards for the "Best Hedge Fund Manager Overall," "Best Hedge Fund Manager in Credit," and "Best Multi-Hedge Fund Manager" at the Financial News Awards for Excellence in Institutional Hedge Fund Management.[12] CQS was reported to be on the opposite side[13] of the infamous JPMorgan trade by Bruno Iksil, nicknamed the London Whale, in which JPMorgan lost an estimated $2 billion. The total gains by CQS are unknown.[14]

Hintze is credited by veteran economic commentator and journalist Alex Brummer with warning about the state of UK banking, the outlook for the UK housing market, and the scale of toxic-debt on the balance sheets of UK banks.[15] Due to his expertise in global financial markets, Hintze has been tapped to sit on a number of boards and government panels. He was appointed by the Australian Treasury to sit on a four-person International Advisory Panel to support the Financial Systems Inquiry (FSI), which is focused on issues impacting Australia's economy such as technological change, Australia's global competitiveness and offshore regulatory frameworks.[16]

Hintze was appointed by Pope Francis to the board of the Vatican Bank (officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion).[17] According to ValueWalk, “The addition of Hintze is viewed as a significant positive for the Vatican” due to the fact that he is a “no nonsense manager with deep insight into a broad range of international finance matters.”[18]

In the UK, Hintze was also appointed to serve on the Fair and Effective Markets Review, a joint review by the Treasury, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) focused on raising standards of conduct in the financial system.[19]


With his wife Dorothy, Hintze set up the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation, which has given significant and wide-ranging philanthropic support to around 150 causes, focusing mainly on health, education, religion and the arts.[4] However, in stark contrast to their normally charitable ways, in December 2012 Michael and Dorothy finally completed their long intended plan of buying a neighbouring and long established homeless shelter called Western Lodge so that they no longer had to live next door to it. Due to ruthless negotiations and complex bridging loan agreements,[20] a 38 bed hostel which had been an important institution in the area for over 80 years, had to relocate and downsize to a property where it is only able to support 10 vulnerable adults.[21]

Among major donations, he has established the chair of International Security at the University of Sydney, enabled the restoration of Michelangelo's frescoes in the Pauline Chapel at the Vatican, sponsored two major galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum and in 2014 donated £5 million to the Natural History Museum, London.[22] He also came to the aid of Wandsworth Museum, which was facing imminent closure by offering a £2 million rescue package while co-chairing Clapham's Trinity Hospice campaign for a new in-patient centre which has now been completed. Through CQS and the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation he provided funding to create a 'theatre in the round' at the Old Vic in London.

Most recent projects have included sponsorship of an iconic exhibition of Raphael's Tapestries for the Sistine Chapel at the V&A and a £2 million donation to the National Gallery.[23] The donation to the National Gallery will be used in part to fund refurbishment, including the installation of new technology to reduce the gallery's running costs and carbon footprint.[24]

In 2014, Hintze donated £5 million to the Natural History Museum.[25] The gift is the biggest single donation received by the museum in 133 years. The gift will be used in part to fund programmes to study problems that threaten Earth's biodiversity such as the maintenance of delicate ecosystems and the impacts of environmental pollution, as well as the battle against diseases such as malaria.[26] The museum's Central Hall has since been renamed 'Hintze Hall'.[27]

Hintze gave a $1 million gift to the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre, which focuses on turning medical research into viable treatments.[28] Hintze has also donated $1 million to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) for a new lecture theatre.[29] The donation was made in honour of his father, Michael Hintze senior, who is also a UNSW alumnus.

He has also pledged £6.5 million to help build an "Olympicopolis" centre for the Smithsonian - one of the biggest and best-known cultural institutions in America - at the Olympic Park site in East London.[30]

The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation is also listed as a Life Benefactor Donor to the National Theatre.[31]

Hintze currently serves as chairman of the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, a trustee of the National Gallery, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the University of Sydney Trust and Wandsworth Museum. He also serves on the International Council of the V&A and is Chairman of the UK Patrons of the Arts of the Vatican Museums. In 2009 he was appointed vice-president of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Hintze was initially appointed to the National Gallery's Board of Trustees by then Labour Party Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008. He was later reappointed by Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron.

The Guardian reported that Hintze is a donor to the Global Warming Policy Foundation.[32] In recognition of their charitable contributions in support of the arts, Michael Hintze and his wife Dorothy received the Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy in 2009.[33]

Conservative Party donations[edit]

In 2006, at the time of the Cash for Peerages allegations concerning the Labour Party, Hintze voluntarily revealed he was one of the previously anonymous patrons who had made loans to the Conservative Party.[34] To date,[when?] his known loans and donations to the party total around £4 million.[4] In the five months to September 2011 he donated £31,000, enough to grant him membership of the Conservative Treasurers' Group, the second highest rung on the party's donor's ladder, which allows its members access to senior Conservative figures through a series of lunches, receptions and campaign launches.[35]

When the Conservative Party were in opposition, Hintze provided the following personal cash donations: £37,500 to George Osborne; £25,000 to David Willetts; £10,000 to the private office of Dr Liam Fox MP; £1,200 to Theresa May; £7,000 to David Davis; £1,500 to Adam Holloway; £5,000 Boris Johnson.[4] In addition, CQS made non-cash donations of: £25,763 to William Hague; £10,439 to Fox; £1,254 to George Osborne.[4] In May 2008, David Cameron declared a donation from Hintze to the Conservative Party that was used to pay for drinks receptions for Tory MPs and their partners.[36] In March 2008, Hintze paid for a private jet to ferry Cameron and Osborne from Newcastle to Biggin Hill after the Conservative Party conference.[4]

In October 2011, it was revealed that Adam Werritty, a close friend and business associate of then Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox MP, was provided with a free desk by Hintze at CQS's London base as part of his £29,000 donation to Fox's charity Atlantic Bridge.[5][37] Hintze also supplied a private jet for Fox and Werritty to fly from the United States to London in May 2011.[38] These disclosures led to the resignation of Liam Fox (who was then Secretary of State for Defence) and the dismissal of Hintze's then-charity adviser, Oliver Hylton.[39]


He was made a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of St. Gregory (KCSG) by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005[40] and was later was elevated to a Knight Grand Cross of the same Order (GCSG).

In January 2013, Hintze was appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his "significant service to the community through philanthropic contributions to organizations supporting the arts, health and education."[41]

He was knighted in the United Kingdom's 2013 Birthday Honours for services to the arts.[42][43] He received his accolade on 23 October 2013 by The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace.

Personal life[edit]

Married to American citizen Dorothy, whom he met at Harvard.[44] The couple have four children, partially educated at British private schools.[4] Hintze is a Roman Catholic.[3]

Wealth rankings[edit]

Year BRW
Rich 200
Australia's 50 Richest
Rank Net worth (A$) Rank Net worth (US$)
2011[45][46] $0.614 billion Increase 15 Decrease $1.40 billion Increase
2012[47][48] 40 Decrease $0.81 billion Increase 16 Decrease $1.40 billion Steady
2013[49][50][51] 43 Increase $0.86 billion Increase 16 Steady $1.55 billion Increase
2014[52][53][54] 23 Increase $1.37 billion Increase 15 Increase $1.70 billion Increase
2015[55][56] 21 Increase $1.75 billion Increase 15 Steady $1.90 billion Increase
2016[1][2] 37 Decrease $1.32 billion Decrease 13 Increase $1.80 billion Decrease
Icon Description
Steady Has not changed from the previous year
Increase Has increased from the previous year
Decrease Has decreased from the previous year


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