Man Letting Employees Leave London

Nov 23 2010 | 12:08pm ET

Sitting in his old firm's London headquarters, GLG partners co-founder Pierre Lagrange said his new firm, Man Group, would allow its employees to move from that city to one of its 16 other locations around the world.

Higher taxes in the U.K. and new European Union hedge fund regulations have sparked fears that hedge funds and their employees will flee, especially to Switzerland, where Man, which in September acquired GLG, has long had an office in Pfäffikon. But despite the offer to flee the taxman, Lagrange told a journalists' roundtable that "very few" have elected to leave London.

"Long term, London is still one of the best places on earth to operate from," Lagrange said. He also dismissed the notion that Switzerland could challenge London's hedge fund supremacy, noting that the British capital has more to worry about from Asia, where Man has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, as well as a Middle Eastern base in Dubai.

Lagrange also dismissed the notion that Man's purchase of GLG was effectively a reverse merger, with GLG executives taking top posts and GLG employees favored over Man employees in redundancies.

"Man's management is in the driver's seat," Lagrange said. "In six months' time, it won't make any difference who came from where. It's all about performance."

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