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July 12, 2015 6:22 pm
Brevan Howard abandons Geneva and returns to London
Miles Johnson, Hedge Fund Correspondent
Brevan Howard is moving some of its most senior traders back to London from Geneva, reversing a high-profile decision by the $27bn hedge fund to leave the UK and bucking concerns that the City’s status as Europe’s leading hub for the industry was under threat.
The decision comes as a number of other large hedge funds are also planning to expand or launch in the British capital, in a sign that international investors continue to gravitate to London.
Hedge fund managers and investors argue that low tax rates have failed to win over traders to the merits of life in Switzerland
, with many leaving their families behind in London.
Brevan Howard’s British born co-founder Alan Howard led the charge by moving to Geneva in 2010, in the wake of the introduction of tighter EU regulation of hedge funds. More than half of his staff and most of his senior traders followed him within three years.
But Brevan Howard has started to brief investors that it plans to move some of its fund managers back to London, people familiar with the hedge fund said. Brevan Howard declined to comment.
The departure from London to Geneva of Mr Howard and Michael Platt, head of British hedge fund BlueCrest, prompted some in the industry to fret that London would start to haemorrhage billionaire traders to the Cantons of Switzerland. While Mr Howard remains in Geneva, Mr Platt last year relocated to Jersey.
“They think it will be fine leaving London, and that they can come back and visit all the time and that the family will adjust,” said one big investor in hedge funds. “A lot of these traders have just got quite bored”.
London’s hedge fund industry is expanding as US managers hire employees and new funds launch. Steven Cohen, who closed his London office after his then-named SAC Capital admitted to insider trading in 2013, is considering returning to the City, according to an email sent by his family office to its staff.
Chris Rokos, a former star trader at Brevan Howard, is in the process of launching what is expected to be one of the largest new hedge funds in Europe since the financial crisis.
Other new launches include Everett Capital Advisors, being launched by an ex-employee of the hedge fund Taconic, and another fund being set up by traders from QVT.
The number of new hedge fund launches in Europe, most of which are based in London, was 576 in 2014 compared with 333 in the US, according to the data provider HFR, with new launches in Europe accounting for more than half of the global total since 2010.