CQS founder Sir Michael Hintze is one of not just the UK’s, but the world’s, leading asset managers: the CQS Directional Opportunities Fund is ranked the 3rd worldwide by Bloomberg in their Global rankings, and CQS won the title of ‘Best Hedge-fund Manager Overall’ at the Financial News awards.
Yet Sir Michael is not the stereotypical high-flying finance-focused businessman that one may expect reading these accolades. He has not moved offshore, and pays his full income tax every year; having been quoted as saying in an interview with the Evening Standard, ‘I must be one of the top PAYE contributors in the country.’ He recalls fond memories of his Grandmother, a passionate Greenpeace supporter, and says of his family ‘We’ve always believed in helping others. From my early school days, I was brought up with the belief that we have a duty to use our talents, to volunteer and to make a contribution. I believe in giving back’.
And give back, he certainly has.
Who we now know as ‘CQS founder’ Sir Michael Hintze was not always a big name in business. His career began as an officer in the Australian Army, before making his breakthrough in the finance industry and working his way up. He seems not to have ever lost sight of his hard-working and community-focused roots and is now one of the UK’s most generous philanthropists – having donated well over £400 million to over 200 charities and good causes through the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation.
Sir Michael’s first foray into philanthropy came when his son Edward needed treatment at St Thomas’ Hospital. Experiencing the conditions ill children and their families faced there, he contributed to the new Evelina Children’s Hospital to help improve things: ‘I could see this would make a difference and did it’. The tangible difference it did make resulted in Sir Michael launching his own charitable foundation in 2005 and seeking out more opportunities to help.
The contributions to health-related causes did not end there. Significant donations have since been made to the Royal Trinity Hospice in South London, who offer unbeatable free palliative care to patients with terminal diagnoses. The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation has also donated to the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, the world’s leading academic research centre in lifestyle diseases, boosting its aim to create viable treatments from research findings.
His time in the Australian army inspired Sir Michael to seek out causes serving armed forces personnel – from here, some invaluable relationships have been forged. His foundation provided funding for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and the ongoing contribution made has been so valued that it has seen Hintze be named an Honorary Captain, Special Friend of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and Vice Patron of the charity. What’s more, support has been given to the DNRC (Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre) Charity to aid the construction of one of the most advanced clinical centres for rehabilitation of injured military personnel in the world – truly honouring and assisting those who have so respectably served their country.
Hintze’s donations to educational establishments are too numerous to name, but in this sector too, the family has made a vast difference. Highlights have included establishing the Chair of International Security at the University of Sydney; providing free tennis lesson to primary school children across Australia as part of the Ken Rosewall Regional Project; supporting the Hintze Centre for Astrophysical Surveys and the Hintze Lectures at the Department of Physics at Oxford University; as well as supporting Harvard University and Princeton University, where a Professorship for the Arts was established. In recognition of his commitment to supporting educational causes, Sir Michael has been appointed to the Board of the Dean of Advisors at Harvard Business School and invited to the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors at the University of Oxford.
Sir Michael’s wife, Dorothy Hintze, is a great art lover, and this passion has seen the foundation donate heavily to cultural causes and organisations too. Hintze has been named a Patron of the Arts of the Vatican Museums and a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Amongst other projects, the family have sponsored two major galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum, provided funding to restore Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Vatican’s Pauline Chapel, and provided vital funding to London’s Old Vic Theatre. The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Room is well-lauded at the National Gallery.
Sir Michael’s grandmother’s environmental commitment is not lost in his philanthropic activity either. Hintze has noted that ‘the threats to our environment present a complex and nuanced set of challenges that require a broad set of solutions’. He is committed to contributing to positive change in this area, stating ‘we must all come together to find the right path to making our world a better place for future generations’.
Certainly, if our future generations are as generous and practical as Hintze and his family, we stand in good stead.