Graham Wellesley, 8th Earl Cowley

Garret Graham Wellesley, 8th Earl of Cowley (born 30 March 1965), styled Viscount Dangan from 1975 to 2016, is a British hereditary peer and businessman. Previously an entrepreneur in derivatives and foreign exchange trading, he is the founder and CEO of UK alternative lender Wellesley & Co.

Early life

Graham Wellesley was born in 1965, the son of Garret Wellesley, 7th Earl Cowley and his first wife Elizabeth Lennon.[1] He is a descendant of Henry Wellesley, 1st Baron Cowley, brother of the Duke of Wellington.[2] He spent his early years in California before coming to the UK aged 10, where he attended the American Community School in Hillingdon, west London.[3]

After graduating with a degree in economics from Franklin College, Switzerland, he served for 18 months in the Household Cavalry.[3]


Wellesley’s financial career began in 1985 as a derivatives trader at the London stockbroking firm Hoare Govett, from where he moved to two further derivatives trading roles at Banque Indosuez and ING Charterhouse.[3] In 1992, he became head of foreign exchange trading at global metals trader Gerald Metals.[3]

In 1995, he established the UK foreign exchange market maker IFX, which specialised in contracts for difference (CFDs) and spread bets on equity prices.[2] In 1999, he and another director, Lorenzo Naldini, purchased the 51% of the business owned by its US parent company IFX Corp in a buyout that left them as sole shareholders.[4]

In 2000, IFX was bought by the football pools operator Zetters for £20.4million in a reverse takeover, forming a new entity – IFX Group – with Wellesley as group chief executive.[5] Two years later the company sold its pools business.[6]

In 2003, Wellesley and Naldini left IFX following a disagreement with the board and co-founded ODL Securities, an online foreign exchange and derivatives broker.[7][8]

In 2005, ODL was the whistleblower in an attempted banking fraud by US hedge fund Bayou. Bayou opened an account with ODL, depositing $101million and requesting two transactions that were refused by the management, who notified the UK Financial Services Authority.[9]

In 2010, Wellesley and Naldini sold their 50% stake in ODL to US foreign exchange firm FXCM Holdings, creating a business employing around 1,000 staff.[10] In December that year, the newly enlarged entity floated on the New York Stock Exchange.[11]

In 2013, Graham Wellesley co-founded alternative lender Wellesley & Co with three other shareholders, taking the role of chief executive.[12] The following year the company issued what at the time was the largest ever loan by a peer-to-peer lender – a £8.3million bridging loan to a UK urban regeneration scheme.[13]

Personal life

Graham Wellesley is married to Claire (Brighton) Wellesley, with whom he has two sons and a daughter.[1]



  1. "Garret Graham Wellesley, 8th Earl Cowley". The Peerage. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  2. "Zetters spreads its bets". The Guardian. 25 August 2000. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  3. Coppock, John (22 August 2002). "IFX Chief plays against odds: Nobleman Wellesley focuses on tax-free financial speculation". Wall Street Journal.
  4. "IFX applies to join LME". Metal Bulletin. 15 July 1999.
  5. McCrone, Angus (29 November 2000). "The Evening Standard's spread betting expert says a new market entrant could cut punters' costs". This is Money.
  6. Chisholm, Jamie (31 May 2002). "Zetters bets on transformation". Financial Times.
  7. "Gap at top as IFX chief steps down". This is Money. 16 April 2003. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  8. Dey, Iain (23 July 2006). "Elliot takes non-executive chair at ODL". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  9. Moore, James (27 September 2005). "London firm 'was link in US banking fraud case'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  10. Wilson, Harry (4 May 2010). "Forex broker ODL accepts US takeover". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  11. "FXCM's IPO Raises $211 Million at Midpoint of Range". Bloomberg. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  12. "Peer to peer lending market gets new risk-capital entrant". City AM. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
  13. Dunkley, Emma; Sharman, Andy (1 April 2014). "Largest P2P loan to fund urban regeneration scheme". Financial Times. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Garret Wellesley
Earl Cowley
heir apparent:
Henry Wellesley, Viscount Dangan
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