British Conservatives Go Into Election With Alts. Backing

May 6 2010 | 12:23pm ET

The British people are voting today, and if the Conservative Party scores a victory for the first time in 13 years, it will have the alternative investments industry to thank.

Many of the top hedge fund and private equity honchos in the U.K. have donated millions to the Tories. The backing of the right-of-center party in Britain is a contrast to the situation in the U.S., where hedge fund employees overwhelmingly back the Democratic Party and were major donors to President Barack Obama.

One of the biggest donors from the alts. world was, unsurprisingly, former Man Group CEO and current International Standard Asset Management chief Stanley Fink. Fink, the treasurer of the Conservative Party, has given more than £1.9 million. But Fink’s generosity paled in comparison to that of Red Kite Management’s Michael Farmer, who gave £2.3 million.

CQS’ Michael Hintze also gave more than £1 million.

The Tories have held a consistent lead in the polls over both the governing Labour Party and the third-party Liberal Democrats. But the most likely outcome of today’s poll appears to be a hung parliament, in which none of the three major parties have a majority. That could keep the Conservatives, and their leader David Cameron, out of office even if they win the most votes and seats, should Labour and the Lib Dems set up a coalition government.

Even if the Tories squeak through or form a minority government, hedge funds shouldn’t expect too much from the party, one source told The Guardian, even though the Conservatives have pledged to continue Labour’s opposition to European Union hedge fund regulations.

George Osborne, likely the next Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Tories form a government, “is a pragmatic guy,” the source told the paper. “He won’t want to be seen as being in hock to a bunch of hedge fund managers.”

Other hedge fund managers and private equity chieftans backing the Conservatives included Lansdowne Partners’ Paul Ruddock, Sovereign Capital’s Ryan Robson, Odey Asset Management’s Crispin Odey, Winton Capital’s David Harding and Brevan Howard Asset Management’s Alan Howard and Christopher Rokos.

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