UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

from Breakingviews:

Hedge funds may still escape EU pay crackdown

Hedge funds should stop panicking. It is true that some have been lumped in with banks on tough new European Union rules regulating pay. But there are a number of factors that should defuse the threat.

Managers have understandably looked askance at the new rules, which were passed by the European Parliament today. They feel that interfering with their pay is unjustified, given that the sector was not the prime driver of the financial crisis, and did not receive taxpayer bailouts.

Moreover, methods that should work well for banks -- such as requiring 70 percent of the upfront award to be paid in shares or other non-cash instruments -- are not relevant to hedge funds, which are mostly privately owned.

At first glance, the rules might prompt some of London's leading hedge funds to dust off their plans to relocate to Geneva. But they are insulated in two ways.

from MacroScope:

The word on Gordon Brown from Cayman

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Gordon Brown is truly having a rough time. Rebuffed by the United States, International Monetary Fund and others for floating the idea of a tax on financial transactions at this weekend's G20 meeting, he has now got short shrift from the Cayman Islands.

McKeeva Bush, the veteran Caymanian politican who is now premier of the British Overseas Territory, popped in to the Reuters London headquarters for a chat this week. His main concern was to explain plans for making the islands an easier place for financial services personnel to live in. He would like some of those 8,000 hedge nearly 10,000 funds that are registered there to be more than just brass plaques. But, when asked, he also had time to dismiss the idea of a transaction tax out of hand.

Live webstream: watch the Extel Survey Awards

The Extel Survey Awards 2009 are taking place today in Guildhall, London. The survey, which has taken place every year since 1974, captures the views of all sides of the investment community on their counterparts and produces rankings for brokers, quoted companies and individuals.

A record 261,000 votes have been received this year, with around 1,500 fund management firms, 172 brokerage houses and 400 quoted companies taking part.

from The Great Debate:

New rules won’t end London’s golden lure

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-- Alexander Smith is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

alex-smithNew regulations may be cooked up to curb the excesses of its bankers but London will always attract those who believe its streets are paved with gold.

Some predict that the financial crisis spells the end for London as a major global financial centre, arguing it has thrived on lax regulation and a quasi-tax haven status and that the regulatory backlash which inevitably follows such a catastrophic economic debacle will suffocate the innovation and the financial incentives which have driven the growth of services in the British capital.

from Global Investing:

A dish best served cold

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Alain Grisay, the softly spoken CEO of F&C Investments, was in a wry humour at F&C’s annual press seminar for European journalists on Thursday.

Fresh from his bout with the UK’s Treasury Select Committee on the causes of the banking crisis, and enjoying a respectable set of fourth quarter figures, Grisay is in the rare position of having come through the storm with his house intact. “We have just gone through an unrequested market stress test that confirms our model works,” he said. “We were able to report resilient results for the year and took the market by surprise."

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