Relocated Hedge Funders Swamped By Soaring Swiss Franc

Aug 23 2011 | 11:54am ET

The hedge fund managers who fled London for Switzerland are learning that there may be more powerful forces than higher taxes.

A handful of hedge funds relocated to Switzerland, and many others opened offices there, in the wake of the U.K.'s decision to increase its top tax rate from 40% to 50%, giving employees a way to avoid the higher levies. But those who have done so may be regretting it: Whatever they might be saving in tax they appear to be losing due to the skyrocketing cost of living in their Alpine tax haven.

The value of the Swiss franc has soared 25% against the dollar over the past year-and-a-half, putting a real crimp into the average hedgie's purchasing power.

"Everything is getting very expensive," Glen Millar of Kinetic Partners, which has made a tidy business of helping hedge funds open their doors in Switzerland, told The Telegraph. "In Basel and Geneva, a lot of people are going across the border to do their shopping."

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