Prudential’s mystery fund manager paid £17.5m exposed


Prudential’;s fund manager paid £17.5m in 2013 has been named as Richard Woolnough. Photograph: Luke Macgregor/Reuters

A fairly unknown fund manager has been uncovered as the Prudential’;s mystery £17.5m-a-12 months man.

The insurer’;s revelation that it paid an unidentified employee £17.5m last 12 months – more than 600 times the average Uk wage and virtually double the £8.7m collected by his boss, chief executive Tidjane Thiam – sent City gossips into overdrive.

The mystery guy, whose payday makes him a single of the very best paid staff in the City, has been named as Richard Woolnough, the insurer’;s top bond fund manager, who runs funds with far more than £28bn under management.

Woolnough runs the M&G Optimal Income Fund, which manages £18bn of clients’; cash, and M&G Corporate Bond and M&G Strategic Corporate Bond, which each deal with much more than £5bn of investments. He is also a co-manager of M&G European Corporate Bond, which runs an additional £2bn.

His bumper payday, which was 6 instances Wednesday’;s Nationwide Lottery jackpot, was disclosed in the Pru’;s annual report on Tuesday. The Pru, which is listed in London and Hong Kong, is essential by Hong Kong rules to reveal its leading 5 earners alongside the shell out packets of its directors.

The business was not needed to identify Woolnough or another anonymous employee who was paid £7.6m. The Pru refused to officially verify that Woolnough was the £17.5m-a-yr title, but nicely positioned sources explained that he was. He was first named by Sky Information.

Most of the controversy surrounding City pay out has targeted on bankers, rather than fund managers, whose shell out arrangements rarely make it into the public domain. It is fund managers this kind of as Woolnough’;s employer M&G which enterprise secretary Vince Cable is relying on to preserve a lid on inflated executive shell out. There are number of rules requiring disclosure of fund managers shell out unless they sit on a principal board of directors. Cable could now face strain to introduce new rules.

Woolnough’;s bumper payday follows the powerful overall performance of his funds in contrast to rivals. The Optimal Cash flow Fund created returns of 6.6% over the previous 12 months compared to the 3.4% typical for United kingdom bond funds, in accordance to Trustnet.

Woolnough, who when listed his heroes as Mohammed Ali and Winston Churchill, has previously admitted that: “In order to get danger I need to be paid a substantial amount to consider it.”

In 2011 he told the Daily Telegraph: “If you offer me a tiny quantity of money to take a chance I will pass the chance.” A keen runner and cyclist in his 50th yr, he described bond managers as “walking along a pavement staying away from the cracks (although) equity managers lie in the gutter searching at the stars”.

He mentioned the accountability of managing billions of lbs of other people’;s financial savings doesn’;t hold him up at evening. “Certainly there is a responsibility to the investors due to the fact you have more customers, but that isn’;t going to really adjust regardless of whether you’;re managing £100m or £1bn,” he advised FT Adviser. “The responsibility does not fret me.”

Woolnough, who was born in Chesterfield in 1964, describes his work as “someplace among an intellectual challenge and a game” attempting to figure out what is going to come about subsequent in the global economy prior to any person else.

He says interesting is “almost certainly the incorrect word” to describe his day-to-day workplace program. “It truly is interesting. You are often finding out and the longer you operate, you realise we’;ve been by means of it all prior to. Crises just make you cope much better with the next crash. You know how to react.”

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