Man Group plc is an active management business initially founded as a sugar cooperage and brokerage by James Man in 1783. It provides a range of funds for institutional and private investors globally and is the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund company, reporting $117.7 billion in funds under management as of December 2019. The firm is headquartered at Riverbank House in London and employs over 1,000 people in various locations worldwide. The company was a sponsor of the arts and charitable initiatives, including the Man Booker Prize.
2 Swan Lane
London, United Kingdom
|Revenue||US$939 million (2020)|
|US$179 million (2020)|
|US138 million (2020)|
|Total equity||£2.238 billion (12 March 2021)|
Number of employees
The company was founded by James Man in 1783 as a sugar cooperage and brokerage, based in Harp Lane in Billingsgate. The following year Man Group won the contract to supply the Royal Navy with the rum for its daily “rum tot”, a tradition under which all sailors were allocated a daily rum ration. This tradition continued until 1970, with Man Group holding the contract throughout. The company further expanded from sugar and rum into other commodities such as coffee and cocoa. The company traded as a commodities business throughout the 19th and 20th century, gradually diversifying into financial services following the advent of financial exchanges to hedge commodity exposures.
The firm was renamed ED&F Man in 1869, based on the initials of James Man’s grandsons Edward Desborough Man and Fredrick Man. ED&F Man listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1994. In 2000 the company divided into two entirely separate businesses, with Man Group plc focusing exclusively on financial services and ED&F Man (the commodities division) taken private in a management buy-out.
In 2007 Man Group moved into its present form as an investment management business, following the demerger and flotation of its brokerage business (known as MF Global) on the New York Stock Exchange. Man Group attained its current structure over time through acquisition. Man AHL is the oldest investment manager of the group, having been acquired over time from 1989 to 1994. Man Group’s other investment managers were formed via acquisition between 2010 and 2017, beginning with the 2010 acquisition of Man GLG (previously GLG Partners) for $1.6 billion, followed by Man FRM in 2012, Man Numeric in 2014 and Man GPM in 2017.
In late 2017, the group announced the creation of a quantitative hedge fund in China. The firm has held licences to operate in the country since 2012, but has more recently been provided clearance to operate as a private securities investment fund manager: Man is one of the first global firms to receive this accreditation. The fund will be managed by Man’s AHL division.
Luke Ellis was appointed as Man Group‘s CEO in September 2016. He succeeded Manny Roman, whom Ellis had worked with for seven years at Man Group and had known for two decades. Ellis’ strategic objective for Man Group is to continue diversifying the firm through acquisition, as well as invest in its infrastructure. Man Group has seen significant cost-cutting, led by Co-President Jonathan Sorrell, with a $270 million cost-saving programme planned for delivery in 2015 achieved ahead of schedule. Sorrell’s role as president was expanded by Ellis to include corporate strategy, private markets and acquisitions.
The Group is likely to be affected by changes to the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive 2004, known as “MiFID II”, which go into force in early 2018. This regulation changes the way in which companies like Man pass on costs to their investment clients, such as brokerage and research, which has caused controversy in recent years. The Group announced a U-turn in October 2017 clarifying that it would not pass on research costs to clients as specified by MiFID II, which was likely to impact pre-tax profits by $10–15 million in 2018.