Political donor and British businessman Arron Banks has a reported net worth of about 25 million.
Who is Arron Banks?
Arron Banks is a British businessman who co-founded the Leave.EU Campaign and reportedly donated over £8.1 million towards Brexit.
Born in March 1966, the son of a sugar plantation manager who mostly worked in Africa, Arron Fraser Andrew Banks was raised by his mum in Hampshire’s largest town, Basingstoke. Following a high-spirited albeit dubious school record, Arron Banks began selling paintings and vacuum cleaners; slowly graduating to selling houses.
He soon stepped into the insurance market with a junior role at Lloyd’s of London. After successes in the insurance and investment fields, Banks opened a motorcycle insurance broker office named Motorcycle Direct in Thornbury, Gloucestershire.
Selling it for a few millions within a few years he then started Commercial Vehicle Direct, which became the largest van insurance firm in England. Banks and John Gannon, his Australian business partner, expanded the company over the next seven years making it Group Direct Limited, which became Brightside Group by means of a reverse takeover in 2008. Banks was Brightside’s CEO from 2011 until his dismissal in 2012, after which he sold £6 million worth of his shares the following year—earning a lot more when Brightside was acquired by AnaCap Financial Partners in 2014.
Banks was also the CEO of Southern Rock Insurance Company in 2014 and the founder of vehicle insurance website GoSkippy.com, for which Southern Rock underwrote policies. From 2008 to 2009, Banks was CEO of Manx Financial Group.
Overall, he had 37 different firms under his name, with each name a subtle variation of the other, as per Companies House records. Among these is Eldon Insurance, whose offshore holding company ICS Risk Solutions saved Southern Rock from crumbling by paying £77 million.
Politics and Donations
A munificent political donor, Banks has reportedly donated thousands of pounds to both the Conservatives and Liberals. He also donated £1 million to the UK Independence Party and £4.3 million to Leave.EU (the campaign group supporting Britain’s withdrawal from the EU).
A vociferous advocate of Brexit, Banks’ £8 million plus donation in favour of the campaign supporting Britain’s exit from the EU is talked about in the same breath as the landmark referendum.
A book attributing Banks was ghostwritten by Isabel Oakeshott in 2016, titled The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign.
In 2015, Banks revealed his net worth to the Financial Times as being £100 million. Within two years, he was on the Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated net worth of £250 million. However, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index places his net worth at only £25 million.
His properties include a house in Tockington, South Gloucestershire, a second that is close to a game reserve near Pretoria, South Africa and the Old Down Manor that he modified into a location for weddings after purchasing it from The Exorcist theme composer Mike Oldfield. Banks also owns 1710 Parsons, a jewellery store in Thornbury.
Banks claims to have a mining license in Lesotho and a major share in a diamond mine in the South African city of Kimberley.
The largest funder of Brexit has five children: two daughters from his first marriage to Caroline and three more children from his second marriage to Russian-born Ekaterina Paderina.
In the 2019 HBO and Channel 4 TV film Brexit: The Uncivil War, Banks was played by British actor Lee Boardman.