Multi-millionaire City financiers who bankrolled campaigns for Britain to quit the EU now say they fear Brexit will never happen.
Jeremy Hosking, who has donated seven-figure sums to anti-EU campaigns and to the Tory party, said he was ‘pessimistic’ that Brexit will take place in a meaningful way as it will be so watered down.
Hosking’s misgivings follow two weeks of political wrangling over the terms of the split from the EU.
Concerned: Multi-millionaire City financiers who bankrolled campaigns for Britain to quit the EU now say they fear Brexit will never happen
His views are shared by other pro-Brexit financiers, including billionaire Jim Mellon who told The Mail on Sunday he believes Britain is heading for a ‘soft, almost imperceptible’ exit.
But whether the country will experience the hardest of Brexits or is destined to do a U-turn and eventually remain within the EU, the major Brexiteers from the finance world are likely to profit.
They have been busy hedging their bets so that whatever happens to the British economy they will personally be shielded from financial harm and will continue to maintain their fabulous wealth.
Meanwhile, they have been voicing complaints that Brexit will not have the impact that has been envisioned for much of the time since the referendum in June 2016.
Hosking, 59, said: ‘I personally don’t believe we’re going to have a Brexit that resembles a Brexit in any sense at all.’
He also blasted Prime Minister Theresa May. ‘I think we will remain effectively tied to all the European standards – virtually in perpetuity,’ he said. ‘And I believe that’s the deliberate strategy of No 10 and this Prime Minister.
The real winners in Brexit roulette
Net worth: £355 million
Brexit donation: £1.7 million
Who is he? The veteran fund manager has three passions: steam trains, Crystal Palace FC and Brexit. He is sheltered from any impact of leaving the EU because his firm’s biggest investments are in US giants such as Amazon, PayPal and Google-owner Alphabet.
Sir Paul Marshall
Net worth: £520 million
Brexit donation: £100,000
Who is he? Sir Paul, whose son Winston plays in folk-rock band Mumford & Sons, co-founded the £26 billion hedge fund Marshall Wace, ultimately based in the Cayman Islands. Marshall is ‘disillusioned with EU policy’ relating to rules for hedge funds.
Sir Michael Hintze
Net worth: £1.4 billion
Brexit donation: £100,000
Who is he? A British-Australian who set up hedge fund giant CQS in 1999 and is one of the City of London’s richest men. Hintze, who has donated more than £4 million to the Tory party, said of Brexit: ‘I sense within a generation [Britain] will be better off.’
Net worth: £1 billion
Brexit donation: £10,000
Who is he? The billionaire investor is sometimes dubbed Britain’s answer to Warren Buffett. His Brexit donations are limited because he is based on the Isle of Man. Eurosceptic Nigel Farage and Arron Banks first met at an event hosted by Mellon.
Net worth: £661 million
Brexit donation: £350,000
Who is he? Founder and chief executive of online trading company CMC Markets. He resigned as co-treasurer of the Tories in 2012 and is a major donor to the party. He says Brexit will give the UK a ‘bright future as an independent trading nation’.
Net worth: £100-250 million
Brexit donation: £8.3 million
Who is he? The maverick insurance tycoon gave a record £1 million to Ukip before co-founding the Leave.EU campaign, and is the biggest donor to the Brexit cause. Much of his wealth is held in Belize, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. He is married to a Russian and was quizzed by MPs last week over meetings with Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko.
Hosking is widely regarded as one of Brexit’s biggest backers among financiers, alongside insurance tycoon Arron Banks, financial advice firm Hargreaves Lansdown’s founder Peter Hargreaves and hedge fund boss Crispin Odey.
Leading pro-Brexit MP Jacob Rees-Mogg is the founder of fund management firm Somerset Capital Management.
Hosking, who is worth £355 million according to The Sunday Times Rich List, says he backed Brexit to give the UK power over its own laws.
Despite Hosking’s views, his firm Hosking Partners is likely to be protected from any post-Brexit fallout.
Its biggest investments are in US giants including Amazon, Bank of America, Paypal and Google-owner Alphabet. It has also ploughed millions into two dozen Russian firms including state-owned airline Aeroflot. About 11 per cent of its money is invested in UK companies.
Fellow Brexiteer Mellon, a billionaire investor, is also sheltered from any ill-effects of Brexit as he lives in Hong Kong and runs his 400-employee firm from the Isle of Man, a Crown dependency. Much of his fortune was made in Russia.
Many Brexiteers have substantial investments overseas and some have taken out heavy bets against leading British companies – known as short positions – meaning they will benefit from falling share prices in a downturn.
Rees-Mogg’s firm has virtually no investments in the UK but more than £200 million in Russia.
Peter Cruddas, who donated £350,000 to Vote Leave, netted nearly £200 million when he sold shares in his firm CMC on the London Stock Exchange just months before the referendum.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that Odey has taken out more than £500 million worth of investment in short positions against leading British companies so will profit if their share prices fall.