Michael Hintze gets Rich List billionaire status, but Urs Schwarzenbach puts him in the shade with $24 million private art gallery

Michael Hintze gets Rich List billionaire status, but Urs Schwarzenbach puts him in the shade with $24 million private art gallery
Michael Hintze gets Rich List billionaire status, but Urs Schwarzenbach puts him in the shade with $24 million private art gallery

Expatriate Australian billionaire Sir Michael Hintze tops the list of London's wealthy who have strong Australian links, in the 2014 Sunday Times 1000 Rich List.

Hintze, who ranks 92nd with an estimated worth of £1,055 million, doesn't have a home in Sydney but has been particularly active in his NSW and Queensland rural property acquisitions over the past seven years.

On the weekend's annual Sunday Times Rich List, Sir Michael was deemed to be worth £155 million more than the £900 that secure his 95th place in the 2013 list.

The London-based hedge fund founder has amassed one of Australia’s fastest-growing farm portfolios, with acquisitions totalling about 60,000 hectares since 2007.

His private pension fund, MHPF, spent about $150 million on the land and water purchases.

The philanthropic Sir Michael Hintze made a donation of £5 million to the Natural History Museum in London through the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation last week, the largest single donation the museum has ever received. Henceforth the space best known as the home to the Diplodocus, Dippy, which was unveiled to the public in 1905, will be known as Hintze Hall. 

The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation has assisted in the restoration of Michaelangelo's frescoes in the Vatican, two major galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

From just 30 in 2004, the number of billionaires in Britain has soared to 104, the new issue of The Sunday Times Rich List, published on the weekend, reveals. The Indian-born investors Sri and Gopi Hinduja, top the list with £11.9 billion. Britain has one billionaire for every 600,000 inhabitants. In the United States, the nearest rival, the figure is one for every one million.

flagtitletatWith an estimated worth of £860 million, Urs Schwarzenbach, the Swiss-born financier based in Britain, and his Australian wife, Francesca, rank the second highest when it comes to those with strong Austalian links in the latest Sunday Times 1000 Richest in Britain list. Not all are Australians in the listed Title Tattle has put together below, but they either now live or invest here.

With just a £10 million gain, Urs Schwarzenbach slipped to equal 115th place, down from 102 in last year's Sunday Times list, and down from the 87th place in 2012. He's the son of a print shop owner, making his fortune from foreign exchange trading after founding his own company, Intex Exchange. 

Title Tattle reckons we can call them both sophisticated dinki-di Australian's as the Schwarzenbach's, occasional Balmoral clifftop house occupants, have a passion for philanthropy, the arts and also have faming interests. They have extensive southern NSW rural interests bought by the big-spending, international polo-playing tycoon since 1987. He has spent more than $35 million in rural property, mostly between Harden and Jugiong, which includes showpiece polo-playing estate Garangula, and Redbank, the homestead briefly owned by impresario Robert Stigwood.

The couple maintain Redbank, the $5.1 million Jugiong property purchased in 1999, as the pastoral company's headquarters, but the art gallery that was built at Garangula is something to be seen to be believed. Sited at Harden in outback NSW, it houses an extensive collection of Aboriginal art in the recently completed Fender Katsalidis Mirams Architects designed space. Title Tattle gleans the private art gallery cost $24 million to construct. The gallery hillside is surrounded by sculpture including Nike, a sculptural maze of intricate 20 mm steel lattice with a 8ft high head by the Spanish artist Manolo Valdes. It is among The Australian Institute of Architects shortlist for the 2014 New South Wales Architecture Awards.

Of course Redbank was held by the Osborne family for 145 years before being sold for $2.8 million in 1981 to the Stigwood, who bought the property on Rupert Murdoch's recommendation while in Australia attending the premiere of the movie Gallipoli. It sold again in 1984, and again in 1988, for $4.69 million. Redbank hosted England's Prince Harry as a jackaroo in 2003.

Title Tattle recalls they first paid $3.9 million in 1988 for their cliff top harbour front property on Mosman's millioniare's row and then $11 million for the neighbouring sandstone cottage in 2010 taking their Burran Avenue residential compound in Mosman to 2300 square metres. The Schwarzenbachs then lodged a $2.3 million demolition works project designed by architect Ian Little.

The couple have lived at Thames Side Court at Lower Shiplake, near Henley-on-Thames outside London, for about two decades. They also own nearby Culham Court, a red-brick 1770 Georgian residence on 260 hectares, which was bought through Knight Frank in 2006 for £32.9 million via a British Virgin Islands-registered company. They also have a retreat in Marrakesh, the 19th-century Morocco palace Palais Layadi, which was built by Caid Layadi, a Northern African tribal lord. It was Schwarzenbach who called the intensive-care ambulance that saved Kerry Packer from his heart attack while playing polo in 1990.


Rick Smith and family sit at 198 with an estimated £503 million worth. He's a Scottish immigrant who arrived in Australia in 1959, joining PFD Food Services as a salesman and driver. By 1998, he had bought out the business from his partners, including Melbourne’s Liberman family. PFD is a lucrative business that supplies cafes and restaurants with about 2500 products. The Times list also suggests Rick Smith co-owns 70 racehorses. He is a new entry in the list.


flagtitletatThe next richest we will claim actually lives in Perth's Peppermint Grove. With a £425 million net worth, Mark Creasy, the mining prospecting entrepreneur dropped from ranking 173rd on the 2013 list, down to 241 this year, though still up on 364th place in 2012. It was down on his prior £500 million net worth. The veteran investor Mark Creasy had been climbing the ranks in Rich List as he was 680th richest person in 2006, with a then personal fortune of £85 million.The British-born Creasy, 68, made his fortune prospecting for gold in Australia, selling a claim in the outback for £50 million in 1994. Sirius Resources, a mining company, that recently discovered nickel deposits on a site in Western Australia, is 20% owned by Creasy. The big news regarding Creasy was him finally offloading The Cliffe. Mark Creasy and his wife, Sharon, bought the house for $2.7 million in 1995 and a battle between them, the Shire of Peppermint Grove, Triffids band fans and heritage advocates began when they sought to bulldoze the 1894 jarrah-built house at 25 Bindaring Parade. The dwelling had historical associations with the prominent McNeil, Brisbane and McComb families. It was Dr Harold McComb, a prominent plastic surgeon whose sons, David and Robert performed in the post-punk rock band, The Triffids.

flagtitletatWith an estimated worth of £350 million, up from £320 million, in 273 place is Sir Martin Arbib, a commercial property investor in Sydney. The 171 Macquarie Street heritage offices are his UK family's only known Australian investment, having cost $5.35 million in 2005. It is Horbury Terrace, a grand six-bedroom, four-storey Georgian building built in 1842. It was built for Ousley Condell, named after Horbury, an area in England.


flagtitletatIn 342nd spot is Graham Tuckwell with an estimated worth of £273 million. The UK based Tuckwell made headlines in Australia last year when he donated $50 million to the Australian National University to set up a local version of the Rhodes Scholarship. He grew up in Canberra studing at ANU. His wealth comes from his exchange-traded fund company, ETF Securities., an ETF that allows investors to trade commodities on the sharemarket.


flagtitletatIn 364th place, up from 522nd place is young gun fund manager, Hilton Nathanson the co-founder of Marble Bar Asset Management, who sold his stake in 2007 to a Swiss bank for about $245 million. He hails from Melbourne, with his wealth up £103 million to £253 millionHilton Nathanson, worth £253 million in 364th place, moved to London to work in finance after his UWA degree, where he was hired by Michael Hintze – then at Goldman Sachs – as an analyst. In he established Marble Bar with friend Gilad Hayeem, which now now has £69 billion in assets under management. His wealth grew by £103 million over the past year.

flagtitletatIn 391st place sit entrepreneurs Tony and Christina Quinn worth an estimated £246 million. Before saving Darrell Lea chocolates, they built up V.I.P. Petfoods, which was sold to private equity in 2011 for about $400 million. The Scottish-born couple emigrated to Australia in 1980.

flagtitletatDanny Hill sits in 405th spot down from 368th spot in 2013, but up £15 million to £233 million. The Monaco-based Hill, 71, left Belfast for Australia after school and built a £215 million fortune in property, mining and investments. He was involved in Perth record setting house deals back in the very early 1980s. As Title Tattle once noted Swan River mansion mania is not new. It was the house that theatrical entrepreneur Michael Edgley sold in Dalkeith for $2.1 million in 1979 to Japanese buyers. The Jutland Parade house sold again in 1980 for about $4 million, setting another Australian record through estate agent Willy Porteous, when bought by the mining speculator Danny Hill who at the time operated the El Caballa Blanco in the hills behind Perth. Apparently much of his wealth comes from providing housing in Queensland, the list which has been going since 1989 says.

flagtitletatThe Scottish-born engineer Bill Patterson - and co-founder of WorleyParsons who went off to run his own engineering consultancy in Sydney - ranks at equal 458 place, down on 275 place in 2013, but still up an improvement on the 327 place in the 2012 list. His fortune dropped £108 million to £200 million.

flagtitletatLord Glendonbrook, formerly Sir Michael Bishop, with a current steady wealth of £200 million, eased from 387th to equal 458th. He was the chairman of BMI, the Midlands-based airline now owned by British Airways. Lufthansa took it over in 2009, paying £223 million for his stake. The Tory peer, 71, made £32 million from the 1998 flotation and 2001 sale of British Regional Airlines. Lord Glendonbrook lives in Darling Point for a substantial part of the year – indeed he just went back to the UK earlier this month having been in Sydney since late last year. Lord Glendonbrook was born in the village of Bowdon, near Manchester, and raised the only child of an Englishwoman, Lilian, and an Australian, Clive, who, as a teen, escaped an unhappy childhood in Melbourne, headed north and landed in Glendonbrook, to work on a farm. In 2010 he was appointed a peer of the realm in the UK, but with so many Bishops already in the House of Lords, he decided to take another title. His thoughts turned to the NSW Hunter Valley hamlet he first visited in 1965. He received permission to call himself Baron Glendonbrook of Bowden in the county of Chester.

flagtitletatFrank Timis sits in equal 504th place on the latest Sunday Times Richest 1000 list. Timis fled Romania for Australia in 1980. The Timis Corporation has a portfolio of mining, petroleum and agricultural businesses. They list him as worth £180 million down £620 million on the £800 million which had him in110th place last year. 

flagtitletatChris Ellis, worth £173 million was born in Liverpool. Ellis struck it rich when part of the syndicate that bought an Australian arm of Italian energy company Agip for $30 million in 1993. Just over a decade later – and renamed Excel Coal – it was bought for $1.8 billion. He's sitting in 545th place.


flagtitletatIn 571st place is Russell Staley, a new entry on the list, being another early-stage employee at WorleyParsons. He has retired, but retains a stake which the Rich List value at £160 million.


flagtitletatSeumas Dawes, the London-based Australian merchant banker, who made his fortune at fund manager Ashmore group, sits in equal 739th place with a £124 million worth on the latest Sunday Times Richest 1000 list. His net worth was up £34 million. Dawes was in 859th place last year and 821st in the 2012 list. Dawes, currently the chairman of the investment committee at Pepper Investment Management, has been the long time senior funds manager at Ashmore, and before that at Paribas and ANX Investment.

flagtitletatThe Lonely Planet founders and philanthropists, Maureen and Tony Wheeler appear in the London list, although generally regarded to have settled in Melbourne's Hawthorn where they paid $1.47 million back in 1999. With a steady £112 million net worth, the Lonely Planet founders are placed equal 806th place in latest Sunday Times 1000 Rich List. But they have slipped from 709th in the 2013 Sunday Times 1000 Rich List. The Belfast-born Maureen and her husband Tony sold their Melbourne-based Lonely Planet publishing empire for £131 million. Tony and Maureen Wheeler started Lonely Planet after selling 1500 copies of their first book, Across Asia on the Cheap, which arose from their honeymoon trip.

flagtitletatJon Aisbitt, best known for his stint at Goldman Sachs in Sydney, sits in equal last place on the latest Sunday Times Richest 1000 list. His net worth was down £40 million. Aisbitt was in equal 989th place this year with an £85 million worth. He was really only a nominal Australian with a short stint spent on Sydney Harbour. It was 2002 when the London-bound departing Goldman Sachs co-chairman and his wife, Julie, secured $13.5 million for their Point Piper base. 

flagtitletatThat high flying hedge fund guru - who took early retirement in 2012 - Greg Coffey dropped off the list having been at 313 with a £260 worth in 2013. Not sure why, but perhaps Coffey's back home in Sydney keeping a low profile. Some of his fortune was spent when the high-flying Australian added to his longtime Balmoral property, Title Tattle reported. There was the $2.5 million plus $3.5 million Burran Avenue additions taking his property consolidation to a four-lot 4,400 square metres that cost $17.8 million, which began with the purchase of the Merdjayoun estate in 2005. Last month he secured approval for his plans for an $8 million renovation and extension to Merdjayoun, a Kirkoswald Avenue estate the Coffeys bought from the Hattersley family for $11.8 million in December 2005. It is a Popov Bass design set in William Dangar gardens.

flagtitletatBuying only recently in Sydney, Lord Alli, sits in equal 421st place, well up on last year when he was in 859th place. Up £130 million to £220 million. The British media entrepreneur and multi-millionaire Baron Waheed Alli owns an apartment in the Dominion development at Darlinghurst. He is the co-founder of Planet 24, one of Britain’s largest TV production companies, responsible for hit shows such as Survivor. He has a £30m stake in Castaway Television Productions and is also building a new children’s TV business, Silvergate Media, which has made a cartoon series for pre-school children, The Octonauts, for the BBC. It proved highly popular in the US. Silvergate is valued at £120 million. Property Observer reported that Lord Alli plans to use his interior designer, Jonathan Adler from New York, to help with the finishing touches of his fifth floor Darlinghurst apartment which cost $1.95 million off the plan

flagtitletatOh and other entreprenuer from our distant corner of the earth who is big in the UK was Eric Watson, the now London-based New Zealander, who has assets in finance, property and retail who sits in 396th place on this year's list, with a £240 million worth, up from 585th place with a £137 million worth in the 2013 list. He still owns a majority stake in NZ Warriors, the Auckland rugby league team.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.



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