The things I’ve done as a lad out of Hackney because of my charitable work are phenomenal. I’ve been everywhere and met everyone. I’ve had dinner at Buckingham Palace, at Clarence House, and Windsor Castle.
“I’ve met prime ministers, royalty, the Queen. That’s the great thing about this country. It doesn’t matter where you come from, if you succeed or give something back, then there are no barriers.”
So explains multimillionaire businessman Peter Cruddas as we chat in his office, the headquarters of CMC Markets near the Tower of London. It’s less than five miles from where he grew up here in Hackney, but a world away.
Now 56, Peter was named the richest man in the City of London by Sunday Times in 2007, with an estimated fortune of £860million.
The father-of-four has homes in Monaco, Antibes, Hertfordshire and Piccadilly and travels between them in his private jet.
A far cry from where he and his twin Stephen and elder brother John grew up on Bracklyn Court Estate before moving to Vince Court when the twins were six, and where John stayed until he left home in his early twenties.
His father, also John, worked at Smithfield meat market and “drank and smoked himself to death”, while his mother Lily was the “rock” of the family who supported the three boys.
He left Shoreditch Comprehensive with no qualifications, aged 15, and went to work in the City as a telex operator for Western Union. After being made redundant, he went on to work in the trading rooms of banks including the Bank of Iran and Marine Midland.
He said: “I was just a dogsbody on the telex machines but I picked up trading, worked in banks and learned the ropes.”
In 1989 he set up CMC Markets and it was the arrival of the internet in the early 1990s that really saw business explode because it offered everyone the ability to trade on the world’s financial markets through his company.
Now he is in a position where his charity, the Peter Cruddas Foundation, has been able to give away £15million in the past two years to 60 organisations including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, The Prince’s Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Royal Opera House. He aims to give away £100million his lifetime.
“Fifteen million in two years – we’ve not made a bad start,” he quips.
So, given he hardly needs the publicity, why has he found time to speak to Hackney Today, I ask.
He explained: “Hackney is where I came from. This is an hour out of my time – but if I can give somebody a little bit of hope and inspiration it’s a pleasure.
Someone might be feeling a little bit depressed because their lives aren’t moving forward then they see this and think ‘this guy did it, he’s from round here, he left school at 15, I can do it’. And if it helps one person it’s worth it.”
He adds: “I was amazed when I went to Hackney, and it’s become very trendy. It’s really changed and property prices have shot up. But I’m pleased to see Hackney being regenerated and that it’s now a very multicultural society.
Everyone lives side by side and it doesn’t matter where you come from, what religion or race you are – it’s just a fantastic borough and I enjoy going there.”
- 1953 Born in Hackney
- 1964-68 Goes to Shoreditch Comprehensive School
- 1969 Starts first job working as Telex operator at Western Union
- 1989 Sets up CMC Markets
- 2006 Sets up Peter Cruddas Foundation
- 2007 Sunday Times names him richest man in the City
Page updated: 15 Jun 2010