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Alternative Market Briefing

Financiers relocate to Switzerland ‘because that's where the money is’ - discussion

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque London:

An interesting discussion has been taking place on Linkedin.com since the beginning of the month, about hedge funders relocating to Switzerland. It was started by Omkumar Enkannathan, Vice President at New York-based hedge fund firm SAC Capital, who asked: “Alan Howard of Brevan Howard group and many others that I hear in recent news have relocated to Geneva. Why is that?”

Here are a few interesting – and at times philosophical – answers that came to him.

Taxes Top UK tax rates that went up 50% in April was given as a first reason. “It's not likely to ever become "most" but "some" will if the UK continues to make itself unattractive tax-wise. However, the best-off always manage to find a way!” commented a business development director from Luxembourg.

“As finance professionals, they are acutely aware of the poor ROI [return on investment] they receive for their taxes. In countries like the US, where our politicians increase the debt approving bills they have not read, they see a very clear picture of taxes to come. While Lugano is no NYC or London, with the money you save in taxes, a first class flight to each location on a quarterly basis with 5 star accommodations will leave your principle untouched,” noted a company director from New York.

But some think that taxes can only be a catalyst, not a substantial reason for relocating.

“Having just returned from two weeks of running around......................

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