June 14, 2013 10:31 pm

Michael Hintze’s knighthood recognises huge contribution to arts

Michael Hintze – one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors, and a leading UK donor to the arts – has been made a knight.

Mr Hintze, worth an estimated $1.6bn, is the founder of the hedge fund CQS, and one of the City of London’s most prominent financiers.

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The 59-year-old is also known for his association with Adam Werrity: in 2011, it was revealed he had indirectly funded Mr Werrity, an unofficial adviser to Liam Fox, the defence secretary at the time. Mr Fox was later forced to resign amid questions about his relationship with Mr Werrity.

Mr Hintze has led an eventful life: he was born in the Chinese city of Harbin, the son of Russian emigres, but fled, with his family, to Australia in the years after the communist revolution.

He was brought up a Catholic and studied engineering at university in Sydney, before joining the Australian army – the source of a lifelong interest in security and defence. He left for a career in finance. He has joint Australian and British citizenship.

Mr Hintze is an alumnus of Goldman Sachs, where he rose to become head of the bank’s equity trading business. He left to set up CQS (Convertible and Quantitative Strategies) in London in 1999.

Among London’s hedge fund crowd, Mr Hintze stands out for his relatively modest lifestyle. He lives with his wife Dorothy and four children – who were educated at state schools – in Wandsworth, south London.

However, Mr Hintze’s charitable foundation, which he runs with his wife, is one of the UK’s biggest arts donors.

The foundation has given more than £30m to charitable causes in the past few years, including nearly £1m to the OId Vic theatre, £3m to Wandsworth museum, which he helped save from closure, and £2.5m to the National Gallery, where Mr Hintze is a trustee.

In 2009 Mr Hintze donated funds to help the gallery purchase Titian’s Diana and Actaeon.

“Michael and Dorothy are absolutely delighted to have been recognised in this way,” a spokesperson for Mr Hintze said. “They look forward to continuing to make a difference to the UK’s cultural landscape.”

The honour is not Mr Hintze’s first: Pope Benedict XVI made him a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory in 2005, and later a Knight Grand Cross of the order. Mr Hintze was responsible for donations that led to the restoration of Michaelangelo’s frescoes in the Pauline chapel.

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