Mr Fleming plans to sell two farms that neighbour Sarsgrove, his Oxfordshire estate in Churchill, near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire.
Like most investors, Mr Fleming – who also has a residence in Liechtenstein – is understood to have seen the value of his investments suffer as the global economic crisis worsens.
“My banks are fully supportive,” he told The Daily Telegraph, “but it’s better to have zero debt at the moment, which is a position I want to get to.
“The stock market has taken a battering but farm prices haven’t so it’s better to take profits where profits are. But I’m fairly relaxed.”
One Oxford property agent said agricultural land in that part of the country tended to sell for around £5,000-£6,000 per acre. Valuations will go up, however, if there are any development opportunities associated with the land.
Mr Fleming, a vocal opponent to the foxhunting ban, set up Fleming Family & Partners in 2000 to provide wealth management services for the Fleming clan as well as other wealthy families and high net worth individuals.
He spent the next eight years growing the business, and it now offers a range of investment opportunities, including hedge funds and a private equity arm. It also invests overseas, and has two property funds focused solely on the Russian market.
The FF&P Russia Real Estate Fund was launched in 2003 to invest in commercial property in Moscow and St Petersburg, while the FF&P Russia Real Estate Development Fund was set up in 2006.
Mr Fleming remains a “significant” shareholder in the firm, but stepped down as non-executive deputy chairman last year to spend more time on his personal business interests.
His investment vehicle, Highland Star, is geared towards riskier, high-reward investments, with a focus on mining and financial stocks, Russia and Africa. Portfolio companies include Highland Gold, a UK-listed miner which owns Russian gold mines.
FF&P clients with a high-risk appetite are often offered the chance to invest in Highland Star.
The Fleming family fortunes date back to 1873, when a Dundee merchant – Robert Fleming – set up a bank to invest in the then booming American railway industry.
In the nineteenth century the bank expanded overseas, establishing Jardine Fleming in Hong Kong, which went on to become one of the region’s leading banks.
From the mid 1980s onwards, myriad merchant banks and family-run City firms were taken over. But Mr Fleming, who joined the family business in 1976, held out until 2000 when he sold the bank to Chase Manhattan (now part of JP Morgan) for an estimated £4bn at what turned out to be the top of the market.
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