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Comment: Hohn keeps giving despite trickier times for TCI

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The hedge fund industry’s best known – and sometimes most controversial – charitable donor continues to deliver impressive performance for worthy causes despite a few unaccustomed setbacks

The hedge fund industry’s best known – and sometimes most controversial – charitable donor continues to deliver impressive performance for worthy causes despite a few unaccustomed setbacks for his fund management business.

Christopher Hohn, managing partner of The Children’s Investment Fund Management, is reported to have contributed more than GBP460m last year to the philanthropic foundation headed by his wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn, which in turn has provided more than GBP800m, mostly to children’s charities, since 2003.

The foundation is funded by profits from Hohn’s hedge fund, which produced returns averaging 42 per cent between 2003 and. The couple are reported to have initially planned to give a minimum of GBP5m, but the scale of their donations have been overtaken by the fund’s success.

Yet recently Hohn, who famously helped to force the resignation of the chairman and chief executive of Deutsche Börse in 2005 for their insistence on trying to acquire the London Stock Exchange, has not been having things all his own way recently.

Last week the firm suffered its latest setback as John Ho, TCI’s director in Asia, resigned to launch his own hedge fund business. Operations manager James Wilk, head of US investing Snehal Amin, and Patrick Degorce, in charge of investments in Europe and the financial sector, all quit over the past four months – Degorce reportedly due to illness.

Last year the fund saw a decline of more than 40 per cent in the value of its investments, including a GBP93m loss in a vain attempt to force the management of Japanese electricity wholesaler J-Power to improve shareholder returns.

Earlier this month TCI cut its stake in Deutsche Börse to less than 1 per cent, finally conceding defeat in its long campaign to restructure the German exchange’s business model and change its management.

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