Wace, 54, is renowned for his philanthropy, having co-founded the Ark charity, which runs a network of 35 schools in the UK and one in Delhi. The charity’s summer galas were famous for attracting illustrious and wealthy guests; the event raised £15.6m in 2009 alone. Tickets to the bash cost £10,000 and raffle prizes included five Fiat 500s handpainted by Damien Hirst (qv). Wace’s wealth comes from the Marshall Wace hedge fund that he co-founded with Sir Paul Marshall (qv) 20 years ago.
The partners found themselves at odds over Brexit when Marshall backed the "leave" campaign with £100,000 and Wace donated the same sum to the In Campaign, forerunner of Britain Stronger in Europe. In 2015 a 25% stake in Marshall Wace was sold to the US private equity group KKR, delivering at least £50m to each of its co-founders plus £93m of KKR shares to the business. The fund prides itself on the diverse backgrounds and talents of its staff: they include a World of Warcraft champion, a former opera singer and an aerial acrobat. Profits shared by its members in 2015-16 surged to £380.8m, a rise of £71m on the year before. Wace has said his motivation for Ark stems from the death of his first wife and his two young children in a car accident in 1994. In 2012 he married London-born Saffron Aldridge, who has appeared in Olay advertisements and modelled for Ralph Lauren.