The UK economy will recover, but “only after four or five years of austerity” and never to the three to four per cent annual growth rates it achieved in the past, hedge fund guru Stanley Fink told an audience at Manchester Grammar School.

The man who transformed MAN Group from an agricultural commodity trading business to the world's largest quoted hedge fund manager said he believed Britain should continue to back the financial services sector but must also look to develop new jobs in sectors such as engineering and hi-tech manufacturing.

Delivering the annual Hugh Oldham lecture to sixth-formers at MGS and from other schools in the area, the Crumpsall-born multi-millionaire and philanthropist said: “I do not think we will ever sustain those exceptional levels of economic growth again because of greater life expectancy, the need to care for the elderly, the diminution of the earth's natural resources and the lack of cheap energy.”

The former MGS scholarship pupil has also been heavily involved in philanthropy in recent years.

He is currently chairman of international children's charity ARK, and chaired a successful campaign to raise £10m for the Evelina Children's Hospital.

“If you have done well in your chosen profession, reached the top and been rewarded well, you have a duty to send the elevator down to help others make their way up,” he said.