|The politicians don't believe it when the British Bankers Association or AIMA say that tax-paying talent will leave the country, or when supply-siders say that the percentage tax take is hurting growth from entrepreneurialism. But there is evidence. UK based firms (including large cap names) have moved their tax domicile to Switzerland. Hedge fund firms founded and grown in London have opened offices elsewhere in Europe to avoid increasingly high personal tax, and to take some corporate revenue out of the UK. Several high profile leaders of hedge fund firms have left London. |
These are examples of indiginous tax paying people and entities moving outside the scope of the UK tax authorities, but there are also decisions being made not to come into the UK tax environment. London is the long-standing hub for global financial activity in the European time zone. There is no doubting London's historic position and ranking. Their is a complete range of markets in the UK's capital from capital markets to insurance and shipping to commodities and foreign exchange. So the talent pool is broad and deep, and the service support infrastructure is excellent for any sector. It is possible to find lawyers and outsourced I.T. firms and back office capability across the spectrum of tasks in London. London is expensive, particularly for real estate, and the physical infrastructure is strained, but it mostly works and everything necessary to start a business is readily available.
The positive factors for London may not be enough any more. Guggenheim Partners LLC is a privately held global financial services firm with AUM of $85bn and offices in nine countries. It is setting up a proprietary trading platform to take advantage of the decline in bank trading with proprietary capital. Outside the United States Guggenheim Partners has offices in Dubai, Dublin, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai and Singapore. The new venture, Guggenheim Global Trading (GGT), will have an Asian office (place to be decided), and it was a shock to read today that the European office for GGT will be in Geneva.
These kind of decisions, to not come to London rather than actively leave the UK tax and regulatory burdens behind, are not headline grabbing and not something that can be taken as positive proof of the case. But there is collateral evidence that London is losing its allure as a trading centre.