About Ian Kilbride

A leading figure in the business of private client asset management for over 30 years, Kilbride established many of the industry standards in this particular field. During this time he has established and, or developed numerous asset and wealth management operations, as well as a number of successful philanthropic foundations.

These corporate entities include Warwick Wealth, Appleton, Cadiz, Starfunds.ai, Capita, Accorn, Palmyra, Fundstore and Pangbourne, all of whom reside under the ownership of either Orion Investment Managers or Orion Wealth Managers. These two holding companies then sit under Spirit Invest.

In April 1994, in memory of his late sister Louise and as an acknowledgement of South Africa’s new democracy, Kilbride established the Spirit Foundation. This has grown over the years to now act as a ‘philanthropic umbrella’ sitting above three focused non-profit company siblings. These are the Spirit Education Foundation (SEF), the Spirit Wildlife Foundation (SWF) and the Spirit Community Foundation (SCF).

Born into a hard working family in Warrington, a town in the north of England, he attended Appleton Grammar School and achieved 10 ‘O’ levels and four ‘A’ levels. This led, in 1981 to a place at Warwick University to read law. Warwick University is renowned for its Law School and for being the home of the UK’s leading MBA course. Graduating in 1984 with an honours degree and choosing not to pursue a career in law, Kilbride entered private client financial services in 1985. This was followed by a move into stock broking and merchant banking from 1987 and then asset management from 1990.

With the unbanning of South African political organisations in 1990 and with his growing passion for wildlife protection, Kilbride made the decision to leave the UK and embark on a journey that would see him literally drive out of London, travel across Europe and then down the entire length of Africa. This experience changed him in many ways, but importantly allowed him to see first-hand the rich social and political tapestry of the African continent and its people. This direct exposure to the people of numerous regions and countries led to his realisation that the African continent had huge potential and thus further re-enforced within him the importance of education and community development. This would lead to the later establishment of the Spirit Education Foundation and the Spirit Community Foundation.

The journey though Africa also allowed him to witness first-hand the majesty of the continent’s uniquely diverse wildlife, while also observing first-hand how threatened this had all become, especially due to urban expansion, along with the predatory and destructive threat of international organised poaching. The seeds were thus sown for the future launch of the Spirit Wildlife Foundation and his long-term commitment to rhino, elephant and lion conservation, in their natural habitats.

Arriving in the ‘Mother City’, Cape Town, in July 1990 and applying his experiences, true grit and determination, Kilbride quickly established himself in South Africa. He formed new and exciting companies, entities that trained and produced a great deal of young talent. Over the years to follow he became founder and director of companies in five jurisdictions, namely the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Guernsey, Mauritius and South Africa. As a financial and technology entrepreneur and the builder of businesses in several different industries, he has gathered a great deal of experience, this experience is of great value within both the corporate and philanthropic sides of the group. Since 1990, Kilbride has been the Chairman, CEO and or director of listed companies on both the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), as well as numerous private companies.

With a strong belief in continual personal and professional development, Kilbride became a member of the South African Investment Analysts Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a member of the Financial Planning Institute. He served and chaired the original Legal and Compliance Committee of the ‘Fund Managers Association of South Africa’ (FMASA), being also one of the association’s founding members in 1994. FMASA has since developed over the years to become what is now the ‘Association for Savings and Investment in South Africa’ (ASISA). Kilbride has also been a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa for the last twenty years and acts as a non-executive director on other companies and organisations.

Building an impressive portfolio of financial, fiduciary, property and technology businesses has allowed Kilbride to develop his philanthropic commitment, an intrinsic part of his personae. Imbued with the African spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ (I am because we are), he continues to invest his time and energy in growing and developing the Spirit Foundation and its three focused siblings.

The Spirit Education Foundation (SEF), since its foundation in 1994 it has continued to fund the high school education (Grade 8 – 12) and the ancillary needs of over 125 scholars and their families each year, all recipients are from disadvantaged backgrounds. With the experience and a track-record developed over four different decades, SEF has developed a unique mentorship model that has seen literally thousands of young scholars benefit from SEF and develop into successful South African citizens. The Alumni of SEF are now involved in numerous aspects of South African life and many varied professions. These range from astro-physics, nursing, medicine, education, engineering, teaching and numerous others. The staff are all qualified educationalists and, or were previously SEF scholars.

With an indelible emotional impression of Africa’s wildlife, etched in his memory, Kilbride subsequently established the Spirit Wildlife Foundation (SWF) with the purpose of contributing to the survival and sustainability of a number of the continent’s iconic species. To date, the SWF has achieved success in assisting with the survival of orphaned rhino and embarked on key programmes that support the protection of Africa’s dangerously threatened elephant and lion populations.

Mindful of his own working-class roots in the north of England, he has also established the Spirit Community Foundation (SCF). The aim is simply to support, in an active way, programmes that impact positively on working class, disadvantaged and, or disabled communities, in both South Africa and the UK. In South Africa SCF support numerous local NGO’s and charities, these include The Big Issue, Hear in Africa, League of the Friends of the Blind (LOFOB), Jakes Gerwel School and others. As a fifth generation Everton supporter, he became an early supporter of the EiTC (Everton in the Community) back in the 1990’s and also more recently the Everton Free School (EFS). The important work of both EiTC and EFS has received wide recognition for its remarkable achievements in its socially and economically depressed catchment area. SCF built a library for this community, within EFS and is an active and committed supporter of the Everton Disability Teams and the Spirit-Everton Choir, which consistently assists those with social and or possible mental health issues, a UK version perhaps of Ubuntu.

Kilbride’s hobbies are numerous and include many sports (although now principally as a spectator, rather than as a participant). He enjoys track-days, classic car restoration, writing, painting, the study of local and international history, the collection of local art and enjoys studying all forms of politics.

A committed family man he has four successful children, three sons and a daughter, they are deeply loved and he is proud of their individual personalities and their determination to succeed and make a difference in their own unique and diverse ways.

Although he travels extensively to various parts of Africa and Europe, Cape Town and the Western Cape remain his true love. This is where Kilbride feels most at home, believing deeply and passionately, as he does, in the people and the future of South Africa.