Hedge fund co-founder becomes Ireland’s newest billionaire

John Armitage is chief investment officer of Egerton Capital, based in London

John Armitage has reported wealth of $1.3 billion (€1.15 billion), placing him 1,717th on the Forbes list . Photograph: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire

John Armitage has reported wealth of $1.3 billion (€1.15 billion), placing him 1,717th on the Forbes list . Photograph: Geoff Caddick/PA Wire

 

Hedge fund entrepreneur John Armitage is the newest addition to the ranks of Ireland’s billionaires according to a list published by Forbes.

Mr Armitage (59) has reported wealth of $1.3 billion (€1.15 billion), placing him 1,717th on the Forbes list and making him the Republic’s eighth richest person.

The co-founder of Egerton Capital makes the list as an Irish entry due to the fact he formally took Irish citizenship on February 18th last year.

A strong supporter of the European Union, Mr Armitage was a donor to the remain campaign in advance of the Brexit referendum as well as a supporter of the Conservative Party in the UK. He donated £500,000 (€582,111) to the party in advance of Theresa May’s failed election gamble in 2017.

Having first started in Morgan Grenfell Asset Management, which was ultimately acquired by Deutsche Bank, Mr Armitage set up Egerton with Irish-American financier William Bollinger in 1994. Mr Bollinger is no longer involved in the company.

As of the end of February, Egerton had about $19.5 billion in assets under management and one of its larger funds is based in the Republic.

Cambridge University-educated

The Cambridge University-educated Armitage, who is now chief investment officer of Egerton, also runs the John Armitage Charitable Trust with his wife, Catherine Armitage. The charity’s accounts for the 12 months to April 5th, 2018, show it made a number of grants including to the Harris Federation, an education charity which received £250,000, the Policy Exchange, a centre-right think tank based in London which received £100,000, and Westminster Abbey to which a grant of £100,000 was awarded.

Armitage holds between 25 and 50 per cent of Egerton, regulatory filings show, and the company has recently performed in the top 20 in Europe. Its Irish-registered fund delivered a 6.08 per cent return to investors in the last 12 months and an 18.31 per cent return over the past three years.

While it is unclear where Mr Armitage resides, in 2018 he reportedly purchased a three-bedroom apartment on New York’s Park Avenue for just shy of $18 million.

Other Irish names

Other Irish businesspeople included on the Forbes Rich List this year are Kingspan founder and chairman Eugene Murtagh, Stripe founders Patrick and John Collison, and Lone Star private equity group founder John Grayken.

Also on the list are telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien, fellow Independent News & Media shareholder Dermot Desmond, Campbell Soup heir John Dorrance III, and Indian businessman Pallonji Mistry, who is Irish by virtue of his marriage.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was dropped from the list after a difficult year for the airline and its share price. Also missing from the latest rankings was Glen Dimplex founder Martin Naughton.