TWO years ago he predicted the world-wide credit crunch – only for his timely warnings of looming financial catastrophe to go unheeded.
Porsche-driving finance expert Ian Rushbrook bravely stood up at his company’s AGM in July 2007 and asked: “Is the financial world sleepwalking into disaster?
“No. It’s worse than that. It’s walking into disaster, wide awake.”
He continued: “The Federal Reserve, the US banking system, the US mortgage industry, the investment banks, the hedge and private equity funds, all know what’s happening – yet they carry on regardless.
“Credit, debt and liquidity have expanded to extraordinary levels and we are certain this expansion must reverse itself. And the catalyst for such a reversal won’t be a butterfly fluttering its wings over Peking.
“It will be a vulture, glutted on sub-prime mortgages, falling from its perch on a skyscraper over Wall Street.”
Mr Rushbrook’s warnings fell on deaf ears and sometimes earned him harsh criticism.
He died last October, a heart attack claiming his life aged 68, the stinging rebukes from some peers no doubt still ringing in his ears.
But not only have recent events now proved just how very right he was, his own astute investment dealings will continue to see his loved ones looked after for years to come after he left almost £11 million in his will.
Mr Rushbrook was managing director of Personal Assets Trust when he made his prediction.
The successful businessman was known to be so sure of the financial advice he was giving he would often plough his own personal fortune into investments.
His bequest is largely made up of property, cash, investments and his share of his successful investment company Personal Assets Trust (PAT).
The kind-hearted investment manager, who overcame his childhood disability of suffering tuberculosis, has also donated a massive £500,000 to his own charity, The Rushbrook Charitable Trust.
Dr Frank Rushbrook CBE is considered as a world-renowned expert on ship fires, and the father and son team recently worked together to erect a much-deserved statue to James Braidwood, the Father of the British Fire Service, in Parliament Square, Edinburgh.
Ian spent much of his childhood in and out of hospital suffering from TB, and was educated at East Ham Grammar School in London.
He went on to complete a first in Physics at Edinburgh University while financing his stay at the university by playing, and winning, at poker.
He met his future wife Anne while both worked at Ferranti in Edinburgh and they were married in 1967.
Following the severe market crash in 1974, he took charge of Atlantic Assets, an investment trust dedicated to achieving capital growth for private individuals, turning it into one of the most successful trusts in the sector.
In 1990 he took over the management of PAT, and over the next 18 years grew the company funds from a respectable £5.5 million to today’s figure of £160 million.
Mr Rushbrook was known as a conservative, a libertarian and a passionate advocate of the free market and attributed the blame for the current financial crash, not to under-regulation, but to official interference from the US Federal Reserve’s irresponsible cheap money policy following the 9/11 attacks.
Student of the markets
A staunch supporter of Margaret Thatcher, Mr Rushbrook even splashed out £100,000 to buy one of the Iron Lady’s famous handbags in an auction to aid Breast Cancer Care.
As a result of his philanthropy, Mr Rushbrook and his wife Anne were invited to the House of Lords to lunch with Lady Thatcher and Sir Denis,
Mr Thatcher is said to have quipped after the meeting “as the most enjoyable lunch he had ever had with a couple he didn’t already know”.
The Rushbrooks and the Thatchers subsequently remained in contact and the Edinburgh couple were invited guests at Lady Thatcher’s 80th birthday celebration in London.
Friend and colleague Robin Angus said: “People wrote recently about Ian as a ‘perma-bear’, but that’s quite untrue. In the 1970s and 1980s he was very stock driven.
“He was a student of the market and followed his conclusions. He was certainly not temperamentally wedded to his bear market views.
“You couldn’t pigeon-hole him. He was an iconoclast and a thinker. He looked at the price of a company and the expectations in the market, but equally knew there were times when the market had had all hope squeezed out of it. He was never one kind of investor.”
Included in Mr Rushbrook’s estate was his share of the £800,000 family mansion in the Blackhall area of Edinburgh, an adjoining property with a value of £325,000 and a flat in the prestigious New Town of the city valued at £300,000.
The generous investment expert bequeathed £5,000 to each of his nephews and nieces, along with various donations to close friends, but the bulk of his wealth went to wife Anne.
Ian Frank Rushbrook passed away on October 12, 2008 and left a total estate of £10,928,117.03.