Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Flight of Funds, FSA Registrations Down

When I asked Vince Cable recently what he thought of the alleged flight of hedge funds from the UK in fear of EU regulation, he said he wasn't aware of any such flight, but it would be "irrational". First, he said, the UK has not - and should not - pander to those in search of a tax haven. Second, he thought it likely the UK will be successful in removing certain protectionist elements from the EC's plans to regulate the alternative investment sector.

I thought this sounded very thin at the time. But I also thought it interesting that Vince went out of his way to mention the tax point.

So no surprise, then, that Lord Myners has just 'spoken in favour' of tax-effective regime for alternative investments on the back of a recent report "that £300bn of UK-managed funds have gravitated to Luxembourg and Ireland, at a cost to the UK of about £300m a year in lost revenues."

The fact that funds choose to remain in the EU suggests the regulatory fears are overdone. Either managers are resigned to regulation, or bullish about watering down the EC proposals.

It's also worth noting FT reports that "only 247 new banks, brokers and insurance firms sought authorisation from the Financial Services Authority in the three months to September 30, while 643 firms cancelled their registration, according to data compiled by IMAS Corporate Advisors."

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