British Budget Offers Tax Breaks For Hedge Fund Managers

Mar 26 2013 | 12:45pm ET

It is unclear whether British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's plan to cut the price of a pint of beer by a penny will do much to cheer the average recession-weary Briton, but some other aspects of his budget, unveiled last week, will do a great deal to cheer the U.K.'s hedge fund managers.

The proposed budget both cuts the top tax rate and does away with a levy on asset managers. Ending the latter, the stamp duty reserve tax, is estimated to save hedge funds and other money managers a total of £145 million per year.

The stamp duty required asset managers to pay 0.5% when investors sold units in their funds. Osborne said doing away with it would help keep the U.K.'s asset management industry "world-beating."

In addition, Osborne proposed cutting the U.K.'s top tax rate to 45%. Three years ago, the U.K.'s former government boosted the top rate from 40% to 50%, raising fears about an exodus of high-earning hedge fund managers from the country that has mostly failed to materialize.

The Labour Party, who pushed the 50% rate and who are now in opposition, were quick to blast Osborne's budget as a give-away to his rich hedge fund friends. Osborne's Conservative Party has received millions in donations from hedge fund managers, including the money that helped them win the 2010 election.

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