Hedge Funds Bankroll U.K. Conservatives In Big Way

Dec 15 2011 | 1:14pm ET

London’s hedge fund managers were among those cheering Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto of a new European Union treaty designed to shore up the foundering euro. But they have been cozying up to Cameron’s Conservative Party in a big way for years before.

Hedge fund donations to the Tories have soared over the past decade, particularly in the six years since Cameron became party leader. From a base of just £20,000 in 2001, when former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour Party overwhelmed the Conservatives to win his second of three elections, donations soared to more than £4 million in 2009, the year before the Tories retook power, the Financial Times reports.

Prior to 2004, hedge funds gave very little to the Conservatives. Indeed, Blair’s Labour Party was among their biggest supporters, pushing through deregulation that helped London flourish as a financial center. But in 2004, a year before Blair won his third term as PM, hedge funders gave £256,000 to the Tories, almost five times as much as the party received in 2003. After Cameron became party leader in 2006, that figure rose to £1.6 million.

Since the Tories retook power, thanks in no small part to a £1.65 million donation from former Man Group CEO Stanley Fink, who was named Tory co-treasurer, the party has continued to rake in the hedge fund dough, with £3.56 million in donations during the 2010 election year and £1.11 million this year.

Much of the Tories’ hedge fund largesse comes from just three people: Fink, Red Kite Management’s Michael Farmer and CQS’ Michael Hintze. Indeed, between the three of them, they made up more than half of hedge fund donations to the Conservatives between 2006 and 2009.

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    One of the most unique charity benefits in the hedge fund industry, A Leg To Stand On's (ALTSO's) Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest - NYC, raised nearly $500,000 last Thursday thanks to the generous support of major sponsors and nearly 1,400 attendees from the Tri-State finance, business and hedge fund communities. Read more…