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Hedge fund boss pays himself £270m, despite hedge fund only making £200m

Rupert Neate Wealth correspondent
Sir Chris Hohn is one of the UK’s most generous philanthropists, donating £1bn to a children’s charity he set up with his ex-wife. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Hedge fund manager Sir Chris Hohn paid himself £270m last year – £70m more than his Children’s Investment Fund made in profit.

Hohn, the son of a Jamaican car mechanic who emigrated to Britain in the 1960s, collected $363.9m (£270m) in dividend payments from the hedge fund he set up in 2003. His pay is 1,800 times that collected by the prime minister.

Accounts filed at Companies House show that the Children’s Investment Fund Management Limited increased its dividend payment in the year to the end of February to $363.9m from zero the previous year. Hohn, 51, is the sole shareholder.

The dividend payment to Hohn dwarfs the hedge fund’s annual profits of $273m, up from $179m a year earlier. It is understood that Hohn reinvested the vast majority of the payment back into the fund, which manages more than £8bn of investments.

Hohn is one of the UK’s most generous philanthropists and has donated more than £1bn to the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, a charity he set up with his ex-wife, Jamie Cooper. CIFF focuses on childhood mortality, nutrition, education and development. Hohn was knighted in 2014 for services to philanthropy.

“The original mission in setting up CIFF was to improve the lives of children in developing countries who live in poverty. This hasn’t changed. I want to solve problems, not make grants,” he has said of the charity.

Hohn is the 157th richest person in the UK with a £820m fortune, according to the Sunday Times rich list. In 2014 he paid Cooper £337m in the largest-ever British divorce settlement.

Stefan Stern, director of the High Pay Centre thinktank, said Hohn’s pay was “extraordinary”. He said: “These numbers are setting a very worrying benchmark. It gives the sense that the only way is up.”

Last month it was revealed that Denise Coates, the billionaire founder and boss of gambling firm Bet365, paid herself £217m.