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Prominent Australian investor, Richard Farleigh (b. 1960), was in an orphanage and foster care as a child.

Richard Buckland Smith was born in Kyabram, a country town in Victoria, Australia. Richard was the eighth child of Millicent and Richard. Because Richard Senior worked as an itinerant labourer, shearer, and opal miner, the family travelled the countryside in an old truck with an open back and slept in a tent.

When Richard was two years old, he and his siblings were taken into State care. The children were initially put into an orphanage, but were later permanently separated from each other.

Richard was sent to live with Keith and Marjorie Farleigh in southwest Sydney. The Farleighs initially expected that Richard would only be in their care for a short time before returning to his parents, but Marjorie soon decided that the placement would be long-term. 

Richard had a warm and loving relationship with his foster mother. He was also close with his two foster brothers, Peter and Ian, who were the couple’s biological children. Richard was never close with his foster father, an electrician who was cruel and critical.

Richard had no contact with his biological family in childhood, aside from one strained visit at the age of four. His parents went on to have three more children. 

At the age of twelve, Richard’s brother Peter taught him to play chess. He became very passionate about the game in high school, and would later represent Bermuda (1994) and Monaco (2000) in the Chess Olympics.

Richard won a scholarship from the Reserve Bank of Australia to study economics at the University of New South Wales, graduating with first-class honours. After completing his degree, Richard accepted a job offer with Bankers Trust Australia, a leading investment bank at that time. As a trader, he became the bank’s highest money earner and evolved some principles of the profession.

In his early thirties, Richard made a fortune working for a hedge fund in Bermuda, an island tax haven. At the age of thirty-four, he retired to Monaco with his wife and baby son. 

Richard then began investing in technology companies in the UK and the private members’ club House HomeRichard was featured as an investor on the British version of Dragons’ Den in 2006. His book, Taming the Lion, describes the investment strategies that have helped him succeed. 

In 2012 Richard was appointed Chancellor of South Bank London University.

As a celebrity ambassador for the UK charity, Action For Children, Richard promotes campaigns and services aimed at ensuring all children have a safe and happy childhood. 

References: 

“Richard Farleigh on BBC talked about being fostered.” Youtube, 8 September 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpOoQEFTwts 

“Celebrity Ambassadors. Action for Children, 2020. https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/about-us/our-people/ambassadors/celebrity-ambassadors/

“Biography.” Richard Farleigh. http://www.farleigh.com/biography.html

Image available here.