Bruce Ritchie’s Residential Land has lost one of its main financial backers following the groping and sexual harassment scandal at the Presidents Club gala.
Property magnate Ritchie was a trustee and one of two joint chairmen of the charity that organised the scandal-hit gala dinner at the Dorchester hotel in London this month.
Canadian investment giant Ivanhoé Cambridge, which entered into a £650 million joint venture deal with Residential Land in February 2015, confirmed it had halted further investments with projects run by the company’s chief executive.
A spokeswoman for Ivanhoé – one of the largest international real estate investment groups – told Property Week: “We are deeply troubled by the events and behaviours as reported by the media; they are clearly unacceptable and contrary to our core values as a global institutional investor.”
“Under the circumstances, we have stopped future investments with the company. We will not make any further comments at this time.”
It comes after a Financial Times investigation alleged that hostesses at the event were groped, sexually harassed and propositioned by some of the male guests at the event on 18 January.
A source at Residential Land said the company was aware of Ivanhoé’s position.
“It doesn’t affect our existing portfolio of investments, which we jointly own. But, at this time, they will not be making new investments with us,” the source added.
The firm is the first to cut ties with companies run by those caught up in the scandal.
It was revealed last week that firms from the property sector sponsored 10 of the 21 tables at the event.
Ritchie, 52, is reportedly well-known on Mayfair’s party scene and often seen with an entourage of women. A property tycoon who was not at the event told The Sunday Times: “Bruce is often seen about town, and this is not a secret, with an entourage of girls. He hangs out with the Mayfair crowd, and they’re often surrounded by girls.”
Other well-known guests at the dinner included Sir Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Topshop, and Tim Steiner, chief executive of Ocado.
It has been claimed that prostitutes were at the event, where billionaires bid up to £400,000 for lots including a night at a strip club, tea with Bank of England governor Mark Carney, and lunch with Boris Johnson.
Residential Land, founded by Ritchie in 1991, owns about 1,200 rented homes in London. Ritchie went into business with Ivanhoé Cambridge in 2012.
Three years ago, Ivanhoé Cambridge committed to provide three instalments of £90 million for new deals, although a source close to Ritchie estimated the total value of properties jointly owned by the companies to be about £1 billion. Assets bought by the fund include Hamlet Gardens in west London and 4B Merchant Square, close to Paddington station in the capital, as well as the Circus Apartments in Canary Wharf.
Ritchie describes himself as “a philanthropist and benefactor of many of London’s worthy charitable institutions” on his company’s website. He has refused to confirm whether he attended this year’s Presidents Club annual dinner.
Ritchie sits on the British Property Federation’s residential committee and is a fellow of the Property Consultants Society.
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