It may be boring and a hard sell for hedge fund wives used to the London lifestyle, but Brevan Howard is still convincing senior staff to move to Switzerland.
Luigi Buttiglione, head of global strategy at Brevan Howard, Alistair Hollingdale, who moved to the hedge fund from UBS in July last year, portfolio manager Boris Vladimirov and partner Lamine Ait Said are no longer registered with the UK Financial Services Authority, which suggests that they’ve moved on to pastures new. However, sources close to the firm said the executives haven’t left the hedge fund, but merely transferred to Brevan Howard’s Geneva headquarters.
Buttiglione has been with the firm since March 2008, having previously worked as head of research at Fortress International and as chief economist at Rubicon Fund Management from 2004 to 2007. Hollingdale was formerly a rates trader at UBS before joining Brevan Howard as a partner in July last year. Vladimirov also came from UBS, but in March 2004, and was made partner in 2009. Ait Said has been with the firm since 2004, when he joined from Credit Suisse, and has been a partner since 2009. The firm has just 49 partners, who earned £269.8m last year, or around twice the amount paid in 2011. This is £5.5m per head.
Brevan Howard, along with behemoth Man Group, was at the heart of the debate over hedge funds fleeing London for lower taxes in Switzerland in 2008.It eventually relocated its headquarters to Geneva in 2010.
Switzerland may offer tax breaks to foreign companies, but the nightlife isn’t lively enough to keep traders happy. Nearly half of Brevan Howard’s 400 staff are still in London, but more want to move to the UK. Reuters reported in October that the firm may have to move into larger offices in the city because of a clamour from traders to escape Geneva and return to the glitzier lifestyle in London.
Among those looking to move back to London were Alan Howard and founding partner Nagi Kwakabani, suggested the report.
A move to Switzerland hasn’t always sat well with hedge fund professionals, with many complaining of the lack of excitement offered in the country compared with the bright lights of London. While hedge fund managers may be enthusiastic about the move, their wives often lament the lack of places at international schools and the pace of life.
Nonetheless, moves by these four Brevan Howard partners suggest that employees still find Switzerland attractive. Their appointments in the UK were officially terminated yesterday on Companies House, the UK registrar where limited companies are required to file accounts and financial statements.