The godfather of hedge funds – a man who has built up a £180 million fortune and counts Boris Johnson as a friend – is visibly upset. Conversation has turned to politics and Lord Stanley Fink, the former boss of Man Group and a 'reluctant Remainer', is picturing a future for Britain that fills him with dread.
It may surprise some business leaders, but Lord Fink's great fear has nothing to do with Britain crashing out of the EU. He believes the Referendum result should be honoured and doesn't think 'anyone rational' wants a no-deal exit.
No. The Tory party donor and former Treasurer who turned Man Group into the world's largest listed hedge fund is losing sleep instead over what he sees as the growing threat of a General Election that might open the door to a Jeremy Corbyn-led government.
Concern: Former Man Group boss Lord Fink is filled with dread about a Corbyn government
And his forecast on what it could mean for Britain is devastating.
'Forget the tax, but just the narrative – anti-rich and anti-Semitic – would cause so many wealthy businessmen to leave,' he says. 'I think [Britain] could be severely damaged for a generation or two.
'I don't know how comfortable I would be living in a country with a Prime Minister who I think is anti-British, anti-Semitic, anti-business, anti-capitalist. It goes against everything I believe in.'
Hedge fund tycoons typically come with an air of mystery about them, having made untold riches as stock market speculators. Before our meeting I had vaguely imagined encountering a Bond villain in his penthouse lair – perhaps even stroking a cat in a leather armchair.
But Fink (leather armchair but no cat) is affable and welcoming at his four-floor penthouse apartment at the top of St Pancras station (formerly the Midland Grand Hotel).
The penthouse, which he bought for £10 million a decade ago and is now his Central London base, gives a glimpse into why Fink, one of the most prominent Jewish businessmen in the UK, might see himself as a target of a Corbyn government.
The spectacular property with panoramic views of London is adorned in memorabilia. An Olympic torch sits on the bar; there is a picture of Boris Johnson on a London bus (he bankrolled Johnson's first mayoral campaign); a Swarovski crystal portrait of the Queen next to it; and there are several nods to the historic train station beneath, including a steam engine which emerges through the glass coffee table.
Yet behind the impassioned warning about Corbyn being voted into Number 10 is deep affection for Britain. For his part, Fink is intent on using his personal fortune to fund businesses and enterprises that do good.
'I generally want to see a social benefit as well as a business return,' the 61-year-old says. 'I guess because I made my original fortune in hedge funds, I like to see business models that help people meet unmet needs.'
By way of example, he lists his many personal investments which he manages from St Pancras.
One is Seneca Learning, which is an educational start-up providing a free online homework and revision tool for schoolchildren. Project Etopia, where he is a director, is a company which builds modular homes that can be erected quickly and, he argues, can help to address the housing crisis. British Pearl, where he is a board member, gives savers the chance to get returns that keep pace with either inflation or the housing market. He is also preparing to back a company called Blackbullion, which helps students learn how to manage their finances, and become an investor in a new mobile phone app called Bud that will help users manage all their finances in one place.
As a philanthropist who gives a third of his income to good causes, the idea of business's social responsibility is something Fink has thought a lot about. Many businesses start off with the best intentions but lose their way in search of profits, he argues.
He uses his old company, Man Group, as an example. It used to give more than 1 per cent of profits to charity, but it had a profit shortfall after Fink left so decided to cut it. Only last week, it emerged that Man Group had pulled out of sponsoring the Booker Prize, which Fink says was 'a sad thing to see' because it 'started on my watch'.
Exclusive: Lord Fink lives in a penthouse above St Pancras station
STANLEY FINK, 61: LORD OF THE RINGS-LOVING LORD
Lives: Family home in Northwood, Middlesex, but also has a Central London penthouse at St Pancras (he owns 37.5 per cent of the hotel below). Owns a chalet in the French ski resort Courchevel, where he also has a 60 per cent stake in two hotels.
Family: Wife Barbara. Children, Alex, 32, Gabriella, 29, and 24-year-old Jordan.
Car: Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Favourite film: Lord Of The Rings.
Favourite book: Life Of Pi.
Hobbies: Golf, skiing, philanthropy.
Typical week: Spends Monday to Thursday in the St Pancras penthouse complex because he often works late at the House of Lords before retreating to his Northwood home for the weekend where Barbara stays with their dog. Doesn’t start early these days and definitely doesn’t do breakfast meetings any more.
He suggests businesses should sign up to 'constraints' when they float to keep their ethical approaches – such as paying a certain percentage of profits to charity. Fink himself is a supporter of the Evelina London Children's Hospital, where he is president, and has helped to fund academy schools.
Born in Manchester, he had a modest upbringing. His father had a business with Fink's uncle manufacturing lampshades before going on to work with his mother in a grocery. Speaking about the different life his own children have, he says: 'One of the nice things about being able to give your children a bit of money is they probably have choices to do things that I didn't have.'
Fink won a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School before becoming the first in his family to go to university – Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He studied law but found himself working as a chartered accountant before moving to Citibank and then Man Group in 1987.
He took over as chief executive in 2000 and ran it for seven years, taking it into the ranks of the FTSE 100. While on safari with his family in Botswana in 2004, Fink found himself unable to talk. It turned out he had a benign brain tumour, which needed removing. He was in hospital for nearly a month. 'Man Group kept it secret at the time,' he says, joking that it may have gone against stock market rules.
A year after he left Man he founded ISAM, but is now just a shareholder in the hedge fund, having left last month as chairman.
Softly spoken Fink seems an unlikely character to have sat at the top of such an industry.
A husband of 38 years to Barbara, with whom he has three grown-up children, he hosted grand celebrations in Marbella for his eldest son Alex's wedding to Sarah-Jayne, who has just given birth to Fink's first granddaughter, Scarlett. Beaming, he says he is 'besotted'.
He only hopes Corbyn doesn't ruin the future for her.