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Business Like us on Facebook facebook.com/eveningstandard operators. The organisation is already doing that many of those bidding for the spectacular auction prizes and making pledges tomorrow will not be from hedge funds and the dinner has mainstream City sponsors. And it is working increasingly closely with governments and NGOs. the charity has developed needed to become more institutionalised in nature. It needs to be made fit for That said, he adds, it could be a lot bigger.
has the potential to multiply in One criticism is that although the tally from the dinner is enormous, it represents a tiny fraction of the personal wealth represented in the room. Those high-rollers could dig deeper. but you must always show the money is used efficiently and says Wace, that is not so Still, he says, gazing eastward out of the window of his offices behind The Strand to the towers of the City, Ark has to broaden out. a lot of money in there. got to get to the banks but to get inside them you need the right He professes not to be bothered by the threat of hedge funds going offshore.
might affect the ability of people to turn up for dinners, but that is all. Listen, this industry is already international and there are so many people in it doing so much for those in need where based will not He pauses, before adding, think of another industry that is transferring so much recently acquired wealth to Of course, that is not what some would say about hedge funds but a glance at his face tells me he is serious. ImILArLY Wace is thumping the table almost when he says, at what doing for UK education. my God, an amazing project. Here in the UK, the need is He glances through the window again.
two miles from here, two miles, there are children in desperate need. We can do it, we have found a model that works, in our academies, that can care for them. so proud of what Ark does. What doing shows just what can be no danger of his leaving the hedge fund and devoting himself full- time to Ark. industry feeds my brain.
I find the people who work in it fascinating I want to move away from His motivation, though, is his philanthropy. people collect art, interested in something else. me, personally, seeing how we can help has provided a great deal of focus on what is important to me and to my life. When I went to see our projects and what they were doing, it meant an awful lot to But for the tragedy, he might not have given so much might not have chaired Ark. In that sense, possible look back and see as a positive Then he says, quickly and firmly: Nothing can repair what he went through, continues to go through, what he lost.
38 Wednesd 8 June 2011 From tragedy to helping others one philanthropic journey Hedge-fund tycoon Ian Wace speaks for the rst time of the terrible loss that pushed him to co-found the Ark charity I AN WACE hesitates. Then he says: know, there was my life before the accident and life after the He shakes his head in puzzlement. truth is, I remember that much before For anyone who knows Wace, this is a deeply significant moment. He rarely talks in public about the devastating events that befell him 17 years ago. And never in a one- to-one with a journalist.
In September 1994, Wace, then a 31-year-old director of investment bank SG Warburg, watched as his family was killed in a road crash. He was driving in Hampshire, in the vehicle in front, with his wife, behind, in a range rover with their two small children. In the rear-view mirror he saw her lose control and the car hit an oncoming lorry. All three perished. Wace went on to forge a hugely successful City career.
He left Warburg for Deutsche morgan Grenfell, then formed the marshall Wace hedge fund manager with Paul marshall today it has $5.5 billion (£3.3 billion) under management. He made his fortune the Sunday Times rich List estimates his wealth at £300 million and remarried and had two more children. now in a relationship with Saffron Aldridge, the model. But the tragedy is something he has not discussed. Until now.
toward the end of our chat and he says: motivating force of my life was the There, said it. were asking about what pushed me and no use avoiding it the elephant in the room. Something terrible happened to people very dear to me. It is what it is, I undo it. But a positive force did emerge, in Ark, and happy to be part of Tomorrow, Wace chairs the annual Ark charity fundraising gala.
As such occasions go, none is more over the top and therefore more controversial. At this, the 10th dinner, at Perks Field near Kensington Palace, he will be greeting the guest speaker Prince William and his new wife, Kate, on their first social outing. Some 900 guests, many of them celebrities and financiers, will turn out, international stars will perform and millions will be raised for inter national health, education and child welfare programmes. The 2010 Ark dinner collected £14.1 million. This year? He shrugs.
know. It depends on a number of factors. But safe to say it will be a vast amount and it will be in the order of last If sales of tickets they cost a whopping £10,000 each are any guide, the previous total could be topped. is stronger than ever This, despite the recession and the tough few years experienced by some players in the hedge-fund industry which makes up the bulk of support even its title Absolute return for Kids is a play on the hedge-fund mantra. want to come because they know it will be a good says Wace.
because they know a good Other charities may be suffering as Wace says, but not Ark apparently. Partly, as he explains, the glamour of the evening and the heady atmosphere that fosters a collective mood of generosity. But Ark itself must strike a chord. have to offer a product that creates an environment that captures donations but at the end of the day, not the environment that draws in the money but the Ever since a group of hedge-fund managers, among them marshall, Wace and Arki Busson, got together to do something to relieve the plight of romanian orphans in 2001, Ark has shown an approach to networking and fund-raising that has left other charities trailing. In that time, it has raked in more than £150 million from individual donors and attracted a further £250 million from governments and NGOs.
than 200,000 kids have had their lives transformed by Ark. I use that word says Wace. Whether orphans in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria has been added to romania), victims of HIV and A IDS and other life- threatening conditions in Africa next major initiative will be a drive for child vaccines with matched funding from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations or Gavi) or school pupils in the US, India and UK (here, they run eight academies, with a further two primary schools and three secondaries due to open shortly, aiming at a total of 25), they have all benefited. reawakened me in many says Wace. He looks down at the table, briefly.
obvious what referring to. But, he stresses, not only him. I know, feels the same. very fortunate in the environment in which we operate. Yes, done well.
Yes, been good. But seeing what a difference we can make has been the best much does Wace himself give? He smiles. vulgar to Ark, he says, has done well. gone from nowhere to somewhere in a 10-year period. But, to an extent, you make your own luck in life.
The model has worked not just because of inspiration but because of He disputes the notion that the City rich are uncaring. people understand their responsibilities? Yes, they do. a generation of people made their own money and are among the most generous people you would ever careful, though, about what they support. like infrastructure, they want to give to providing time, he says, for Ark to branch out from hedge fund INTERVIEW The chairman prepares: Ian Wace outside Perks Fields with the riggers responsible for setting up this Ark Dinner Chris Blackhurst City Editor Royal support: William and Kate will attend the Ark gala.
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