Hedge fund boss takes home UK record pay of $634m

Christopher Hohn owns 100 per cent of the Children's Investment fund. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LONDON (AFP) - Hedge fund boss Christopher Hohn set a UK record in 2020 for the biggest ever annual paycheck after he paid himself almost half a billion US dollars, according to documents filed on Monday (March 1).

The billionaire boss, who owns 100 per cent of the Children's Investment (TCI) fund which he runs, paid the £343 million (S$634 million) sum into his personal company TCI Fund Management, documents at Companies House showed.

The amount paid in dividends for the fiscal year ending in March is the highest ever paid to an individual in the Britain, The Guardian newspaper reported.

The figure is 9,000 times the average annual salary in Britain.

Mr Hohn broke the record previously held by Denise Coates, the founder of the British online betting site Bet365, who in 2018 pocketed £323 million in salaries and dividends.

The previous year, the TCI boss received a sum of US$261 million (S$346.4 million) but he gave himself a pay rise after his fund's pre-tax profit rose from US$420 million in 2018-2019 to US$695 million in 2019-2020.

TCI, which was founded in 2003, has made a name for itself by taking minority stakes in numerous multinationals with the aim of influencing their strategies.

In 2019, the fund managed US$30 billion in assets.

The hedge fund has used its shareholder leverage with several firms, including Airbus, saying it would punish directors who did not go far enough in reducing C02 emissions.

The fund is based in London's fashionable Mayfair district, but its controlling company, owned by Mr Hohn, is registered in the Cayman Islands, a British territory and tax haven criticised by campaigners for facilitating tax evasion and money laundering.

Mr Hohn has also gained a reputation as a prominent philanthropist.

In 2019 he gave away US$386 million through his personal charity, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and donated £50,000 to the Extinction Rebellion climate change campaign.

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