Horlick was born into a Cheshire family and spend most of her youth in the Wirral. Horlick's parents lived in Puddington Old Hall, which is an historic Tudor house. Horlick's father, Michael Gayford, was a Liberal candidate in the 1970s for Wirral. Her grandmother was a Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in Poland on a motorbike. Horlick's mother, Suzanna Czyzewska, was born in Warsaw in 1939. Czyzewska's parents fled to Russia when the Nazis invaded Poland, and when liberated, they fought with the British in the Middle East. After the war, they lived in Kenya, where Czyzewska was brought up. She moved to the UK when she was 19 and married Horlick's father when she was 21. After having two children, Nicola and then her brother Christopher, Czyzewska went to the Liverpool University School of Architecture and qualified as an architect. Horlick attended the independent Kingsmead School in Hoylake, Wirral between the ages of six and twelve. She was one of four girls amongst 300 boys initially. She then boarded at the independent Cheltenham Ladies' College in 1973. She stayed for two years then went to Birkenhead High School GDST. She also spent some time at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, USA, on an English-Speaking Union exchange scholarship. She gained nine O levels, four A levels and an S level. She gained a place at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1979 to study Law, and graduated in 1982.
Between 1982 and 1983, Horlick worked for her father in the family business. She then joined S. G. Warburg & Co. as a graduate trainee in 1983, starting in the investment management business, which later became Mercury Asset Management. She was appointed a director in 1989. She joined Morgan Grenfell Asset Management in 1991 and was appointed Managing Director of the UK investment business in 1992 until 1997. During the period that she managed that business, assets under management rose from £4 billion to £18 billion. She was ultimately suspended from the job on Jan 14, 1997 and resigned two days later, after it was claimed she was moving to a rival and trying to get colleagues to join her.
She set up SG Asset Management in 1997 and Bramdean Asset Management LLP in 2005. She is currently the CEO of Money&Co., which is a marketplace lending business focusing on business loans. She also has a film business called Derby Street Films. Nicola Horlick is the Chairman of film finance fund Glentham Capital which raised funds on equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs in 2013. She was a founding partner of Rockpool in 2011, which has its offices in Victoria, London and the other businesses are based in Mayfair.
Horlick has been called "Superwoman" in the media for balancing her high-flying finance career with bringing up six children, Georgina, Alice, Serena, Antonia, Rupert, and Benjie. Her eldest daughter, Georgina, died of leukaemia in 1998 when she was 12.
She married Timothy Piers Horlick, whom she had met while at Oxford, in June 1984, when she was 23. They separated in December 2003 and divorced in 2005. Her second marriage is to Martin Baker, a financial journalist, on 8 September 2006. They had met in March 2005, when he interviewed her for the Sunday Telegraph.
In 2016 she decided to join the Liberal Democrats as a result of the outcome of the EU Referendum.
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- "Now Morgan Grenfell suspends pensions chief". The Independent. 15 Jan 1997.
- "DEUTSCHE BANK VS. THE `SUPERWOMAN'". Business Week. 2 Feb 1997.
- Business profile: The mother of all fund managers, interview in the Sunday Telegraph 13 Mar 2005
- "City superwoman reveals marriage joy". Daily Mail. London. 10 September 2006.
- [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/cf11d2c8-9a38-11e1-aa6d-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2RB1epVUN Nicola Horlick now, profile in FT.com 12 May 2012
- Rumsey, Lulu (August 2013). "Horlicks goes to Hollywood". Residents' Journal (4).
- BBC Radio 4 "In the Psychiatrist's Chair" 12 July 2014
- BBC Profile
- Desert Island Discs 29 July 2007
- FSA Register
- Martin Baker page at Pan Macmillan