Home Money Me And My Money: City ‘Superwoman’ Nicola Horlick reveals why she spends £5k a year on dog food and how she made her first million in her twenties’

Me And My Money: City ‘Superwoman’ Nicola Horlick reveals why she spends £5k a year on dog food and how she made her first million in her twenties’

by Elijah
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Passion: Nicola with two of her sighthounds

Passion: Nicola with two of her sighthounds

Passion: Nicola with two of her sighthounds

Investment manager Nicola Horlick was nicknamed ‘Superwoman’ for juggling a career in the city with raising her six children, writes York Membery.

She is now 63 years old and has been a leading fund manager for 40 years.

During the five years she was managing director of Morgan Grenfell’s UK investment business, the firm’s assets under management grew from £4bn to £22bn.

Today she is CEO of Money&Co. – a peer-to-peer lending platform.

Horlick, whose second husband Martin died of prostate cancer in 2022, aged 64, lives in south-west London with her six dogs. Her eldest daughter, Georgina, died of leukemia in 1998, aged 12.

What did your parents teach you about money?

Quite. I grew up in a small village near Chester and worked during school holidays for the family business importing and exporting tanning materials, and was there full time for a year after graduating, on a salary of £6,000. .

I was lucky because my father allowed me to be actively involved in the nitty-gritty of his business; That taught me a lot about money and how business works. My younger brother, who is a musician, spent his youth practicing piano, trumpet and organ. I also remember my father complaining a lot about the ridiculous level of taxes – they were incredibly high in those days.

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?

Not precisely. I had an incredibly privileged upbringing in a historic house overlooking the Dee Estuary and because my father was such a good businessman most of the time, I didn’t even think about money.

Have you ever been paid silly money?

By city standards, I was paid very well when I was young. I was a bank director at 28 and had made my first million by the time I was in my twenties. Some people criticize the City’s salaries, but the City is an important part of our economy and companies pay good salaries because they want the best people. But when you run your own business, like I do now, you can’t pay yourself the same as a big bank would.

What was the best year of your financial life?

I have sold several businesses over the years and when you do, you can make a lot of money. But the best years of my life, in terms of profits, were probably when I was at SG Asset Management, which I set up in 1997. The business grew so quickly (I achieved my goal of raising £5bn in five years in two) that I received very good annual bonuses in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Most expensive thing you bought for fun?

Books and dogs. I’m not very materialistic but I have a couple thousand books and six dogs: two Weimaraners and four Whipets. I spend around £100 a month (or £1,200 a year) on books and £400 a month on dog food, which equates to around £5,000 a year.

Fortunately, my dogs have been fairly healthy, although last year I had to pay £1,800 in vet bills and a dog hospital after one of my weimaraners, Cooper, ate a dozen nectarines and became ill. It’s worth it? Yes, Cooper in particular has been a great comfort to me since my husband died 15 months ago.

What is your biggest money mistake?

I built a house 17 years ago that became a money pit; in fact, I lost money on it, quite a feat for a London property. My mother was an architect so I thought she knew how to build a house, I bought land for £1.6 million and spent a similar amount building a luxury home on the site. But finding good workers in the capital to work on an internal residential development is difficult and costs have skyrocketed.

It was all a bad idea and I took a substantial financial hit, but it gives me a chance to try something I wasn’t qualified to do: I should have stuck to being a money manager.

Best money decision you’ve ever made?

Build businesses and sell them. And I’ve been working incredibly hard on my current business, which has been a nice distraction since Martin’s passing.

Do you have a pension?

Yes, I will receive a pension from one of the banks I worked for when I decide to retire, but the rest of my pension fund is in a SSAS (Small Self-Administered Scheme). If you have money in a defined benefit pension, leave it there because they are amazing.

If you were Chancellor, what would you do?

Firstly, I would invest in our infrastructure (roads, railways, schools and hospitals) because it is collapsing. Second, it would give companies more incentives to invest. Finally, I would join the Single Market again: Brexit is making it harder for our economy to grow.

What is your number one financial priority?

All my children have left home, so my top financial priority is making sure my dogs are fed and continuing to support charities close to my heart.

  • Nicola is chair of blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan (anthonynolan.org) and a trustee of the Childhood Trust (childhoodtrust.org.uk), which aims to eradicate child poverty in London.

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