For a man in the hedge-fund industry, David Harding sounds remarkably cool and collected. “Last year was a stellar year for Winton Capital Management.,” he told Real Business. Turnover doubled from £92m in 2007 to £187m in 2008 and pre-tax profits jumped from £60m to £121m. Dividend payments shot up from £30m to a mind blowing £74m. Of course, Winton Capital can’t expect to escape the ravages of the credit crunch completely but Harding describes trading as “robust in an adverse environment” and says he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the immediate future. He says that, as a managed-futures adviser, Winton is better-placed than many hedge funds to weather the storm. Offices in Hong Kong, Oxford and Cambridge “to be close to the future talent”, and headquarters in London, allow Winton to “invest in markets all over the world, using a trend-based mathematical strategy”, explains Harding. And no-one can argue that the strategy hasn’t been successful. This is the second successive year that Winton has appeared in the Hot 100 and last year’s Sunday Times Rich List estimated Harding’s worth at a cool £389m.
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