To celebrate the launch of Outset’s new design fund for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Swarovski hosted an exclusive gala dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum on the 25th March, with Yana Peel, Co-Director of Outset and Ben Evans, Director of the London Design Festival.
The event included a tour through the V&A‘s, twentieth century collection by Christopher Wilke, curator of Modernism at the V&A,, and dinner hosted by Nadja Swarovski in the splendour of the Hintze sculpture galleries, complimented by a talk from Sir Mark Jones, Victoria & Albert Museum Director. He states, “We are very grateful that Outset is supporting the V&A,in this way, which will be a wonderful boost to our contemporary collecting plans.”
The aim of the new fund will be to raise £100,000 each year to acquire and display the best contemporary furniture through the engagement of 100 Outset donors, each donating between £5-10,000 annually. A panel of design experts, led by Christopher Wilke, curator of Modernism at the V&A Museum, will select the best designs each year. The collection of pieces will be displayed at the Museum during the London Design Festival in September and also the Pavilion of Art & Design, and Frieze Art Fair.
Nadja Swarovski, Vice President of International Communications & Creative Director at Swarovski comments, “Swarovski’s support of this Outset fundraising event is in line with its mission to support the various industries from fashion, jewellery and architecture & design, in order to promote and nurture innovation and creative expression within these business fields on an international level.”
Ben Evans, Director of the London Design Festival adds, “Outset have done sterling work in contemporary art for years. Their expansion into design is something thatI’ve encouraged and which I’m delighted by. The V&A, which is the hub of the London Design Festival, is the perfect institution to benefit from this kind of philanthropy.”
Founded in 2003, Outset is a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting new art. The charitable foundation focuses on bringing private funding from its supporters and trustees to public museums, galleries, and art projects. The fund uses its independent platform to give new audiences proximity to the visual arts, building long-lasting relationships within the international artistic community.
Addressing the need for flexible, early-stage funding within the public arena, Outset enables ambitious non-commercial ventures and acquisitions. Outset established a similar fund for Tate nine years ago, specifically to buy artworks at the Frieze Art Fair. Since then, the fund has supported most of London’s leading visual arts institutions with capital campaign, education, outreach and programming needs and donated nearly one hundred works of challenging contemporary art to public institutions across Britain and abroad.
Yana Peel of Outset said, “Broadening the philanthropic efforts of Outset into the world of design seems very timely at a moment when private funding for the arts is more important than ever. Drawing on out experience of aligning private and corporate patrons with exciting artists and institutions, we intend to set up an acquisitions scheme which will benefit the V&A, the design world and, we hope, the public at large.”
In 1895, Daniel Swarovski I, a Bohemian inventor and visionary, moved to the village of Wattens, Tyrol in Austria, with his newly-invented machine for cutting and polishing crystal jewellery stones.
From this beginning that revolutionised the fashion world, Swarovski has grown to be the world’s leading producer of precision-cut crystal for fashion, jewellery and more recently lighting, architecture and interiors.
Today, the Swarovski group, still family-owned and run by 4th and 5th generation family members, has a global reach with some 24,800 employees, a presence in over 120 countries and a turnover in 2009 of 2.25 billion Euros.
Swarovski comprises two major businesses, one producing and selling loose elements to the industry and the other creating design-driven finished products. Swarovski crystals have become an essential ingredient of international design.
Since 1965 the company has also catered to the fine jewellery industry with precision-cut genuine and created gemstones. Showing the creativity that lies at the heart of the company, Swarovski’s own brand lines of accessories, jewellery and home décor items are sold through more than 1,800 retail outlets worldwide. And in Wattens, Swarovski Kristallwelten, the multi-media crystal museum, was opened in 1995 as a celebration of Swarovski’s universe of innovation and inspiration.
About Michael Hintze
The Art of Charity
Adele Ferguson 03.12.07
Australian Michael Hintze’s charitable donations are as diverse as his hedge fund investments.
Michael Hintze might run a big and successful hedge fund, enjoy a view of Buckingham Palace’s gardens from his office and boast the title of papal knight. But it doesn’t seem to be power, position and money that motivates the former Australian Army captain.
As founder, majority shareholder and chief executive of London hedge fund group CQS, Hintze has built a global investment empire that manages more than $6 billion. That’s made this financial wizard, with degrees in mathematics, physics, electrical engineering and acoustics, quite rich. Since setting up CQS in 2000, his wealth has ballooned to $600 million, ranking him number 27 on FORBES ASIA’s list of the richest citizens of Australia or New Zealand.
But there are no private jets, yachts, mansions or collections of cars or art in his life. Instead, Hintze, 53, pours his money and his spare time into philanthropy. He’s funded the restoration of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Pauline Chapel of the Vatican. He’s sponsored two galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He’s given millions to the University of Sydney. The list of causes that have gotten his attention is not short. “The more money I make, the more I can give,” he says. “That is a big motivator for me.”
And the way CQS is growing, Hintze will be making a lot more money–and writing a lot more checks to his favorite charities. In December the firm listed one of its funds for the first time, launching a new fund–its seventh–on London’s AIM market and raising $100 million. Called the CQS Rig Finance Fund, it’s the world’s first fund that invests in bonds sold by companies–many of them Norwegian–to build and upgrade offshore oil rigs. The bonds are secured by the rigs, which can cost $500 million to erect.
Adjacent competency is something Hintze talks a lot about, where CQS can apply its expertise in related areas. So it’s recently moved into asset-backed securities, launching the CQS ABS fund. Other plans under consideration include launching a fund investing in Asia. CQS already has operations in Hong Kong.
Hintze’s advantage seems to be his knack for synthesizing different fields of knowledge, something that can be seen through his education, passion for the arts and various career choices. Friends say he, and CQS’ 160-member staff, are good at integrating many fields of activity–politics, financial flows, central bank strategies, commodity prices and so on–into a snapshot and then acting very quickly.
That’s helped make CQS one of the top 20 hedge funds in Europe. Its flagship, the Convertible & Quantitative Strategies Fund, was named “Convertible & Equity Arbitrage Fund of the Year” by information service EuroHedge in 2001 and 2004. It earned 15.5% after fees last year and has averaged 15.3% a year after fees since it started seven years ago. In CQS’ latest financial statement the firm reported fee income of $118 million for 2005.
Hintze’s story has humble beginnings. His grandparents had money but lost everything when they fled the Russian revolution in 1917 and moved to Harbin in northern China. Just a few decades later his parents found themselves in a similar situation, losing everything when Mao Zedong came to power in 1949. Left stranded as borders closed and exit permits took a long time to obtain, they weren’t able to flee to Australia until October 1953, when Hintze was 3 months old. Raised by his mother after his parents divorced when he was 7, he learned from an early age that hard work and education are the keys to freedom. “You learn that money can come and go, but values are there forever,” he says.
So although he’s seriously wealthy, Hintze is anything but flashy. He lives with his wife, Dorothy, and their four children in Balham, in south London. As one of his friends, John Blundell, director general of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs in London, put it: “Balham is on the poorer side of the river. It is certainly not fashionable, and you won’t find many fund managers living there.” Hintze and his wife are both down-to-earth, friends say, and that’s the way they want their children brought up. The children all started in state school, for example.
But Hintze is certainly not frugal when it comes to philanthropy. In 2004 he and his wife established the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation; since then it has made grants and commitments to educational, health and religious programs and the arts. He won’t disclose the assets of the foundation, but at a rough guess, he’s probably donated more than $60 million since he started to become wealthy. That includes $5 million to the V&A and $2 million to the Pauline Chapel. He is a trustee of the economic institute and serves on the fundraising committee of the Trinity Hospice in London. At the V&A, the Dorothy and Michael Hintze Sculpture Gallery opened last spring and an English Medieval and Renaissance gallery he’s funding is due to open in 2009. In London he also has made commitments to the National Theatre of Great Britain, the Old Vic theater and the Donmar Warehouse, London’s leading repertory theater.
Putting up the money for the fresco restoration in the Vatican coupled with other donations prompted Pope Benedict XVI to make him a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Gregory in 2005. Both he and his wife are Catholics active in their parish.
He also hasn’t forgotten Australia. He gave $1.1 million to his alma mater, the University of Sydney, in May and has promised another $1.6 million. The money allowed the university to establish the Centre of International Security Studies.
Hintze’s private life, naturally, is something he has tried to keep–well, private. But this came to a crashing halt when a U.K. blogger revealed a year ago that he was the source of a mysterious $5 million loan to the Tories. After long backing the party quietly, he went public when the blogger called, saying he is “proud of my longstanding support of the Conservative Party.” Articles came thick and fast, trying to figure out who this man was, what he did and how much he was worth. He feels that being public about his giving will encourage others to “step up to the plate” as well.
Hintze’s career started far from Wall Street or the City, but instead in the Australian Army, where he quickly climbed the ranks to become a captain. “I went into the army to give something back to the country that did so much for me and also to travel the world and have fun,” he says. “After three years I decided to leave and do something else.”
His friend and former boss in the army, Steven Nadudvary, says Hintze was a misfit there. “His peers were overawed by him, and his superiors used to ask him to do the presentations they should have done. He was so hardworking and driven, and had the most incredibly sharp mind. He picked up things that the best in the army couldn’t grapple with.”
He went on to Harvard Business School and used his M.B.A. to go into trading instead of corporate finance. A speech at school by John Mack, then managing director of Morgan Stanley (nyse: MS – news – people )’s fixed-income division and now chairman and chief executive, helped steer him toward trading. “At that time it wasn’t as fashionable to go into securities trading; corporate finance was the place to be. It looked interesting and fun and a good challenge. I was fascinated to see how things in markets work.”
So just as the long bull market was about to start in the early 1980s, he joined Salomon Brothers in New York, later switching to Goldman Sachs (nyse: GS – news – people ). He moved to London for Goldman before transferring to Credit Suisse First Boston in 1996. Then he decided to do his own thing. His reputation was such that CSFB chipped in the first $200 million to the CQS fund. “I didn’t set up my own business only to make money,” he says. “My motto is, ‘If you earn a lot, you give a lot.’ I have always given. I can just give more now, and I believe it is every individual’s obligation to give back. It isn’t up to government, it is up to the individual.”