The ‘super smart’ secretive trader ranked among Britain’s richest people

But despite being one of the wealthiest men in finance, little is known about the former JP Morgan trader outside of hedge fund circles. 

Michael Spencer, the billionaire financier, says he has known the “super smart” trader for a long time, although not seen him for years. Other high-profile UK investors admit they haven’t even heard of him. Platt’s last round of media interviews took place over a decade ago when he was promoting some of the art he had backed, including a life-size wax gorilla nailed to a wooden cross. 

A keen art collector who was born and raised in Lancashire to parents who worked at the University of Manchester, Platt has credited his grandmother for getting him into trading. “When I was a kid, I used to go round to her house, and she’d be sitting there working out what she was going to buy and at what profit levels. She wasn’t like most grandmothers,” he told Bloomberg in 2010. 

Aged 14, he bet £500 on a fairly unknown shipping line called Common Brothers, which soon tripled in price: “I ended up fairly addicted. I invested £500 and got back about £1,500, which was all the money in the world then.”

His other addiction is art. The London School of Economics graduate has previously insisted his art ventures have always been about having fun rather than finding a ticket out of the lucrative hedge fund world – a sector he has cashed in on since setting up BlueCrest in 2000.

The 53-year-old jointly runs private art fund All Visual Arts with American art dealer Joe La Placa. The pair set up shows around London featuring work from the likes of taxidermist Polly Morgan and say they only sell some of the art to cover their costs. 

“The whole purpose is to get people to want it without actually selling it,” Platt once said. “The sexiest word in the English language is ‘no’, right? At the end of it, I’d like to have an education, a lot of friendships and a decent portfolio of art.”

Since briefly venturing into the limelight to talk art, Platt has remained a lot more secretive, presumably because London-based BlueCrest went on to jettison all external client money in 2015.

The firm, which has offices globally, handed back the billions of dollars it managed on other people’s behalf and became a family office, freeing Platt from having to answer to those outside his business. 

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