Brevan Moves Most Operations Out Of London

Oct 24 2013 | 10:21am ET

Brevan Howard Asset Management's shift away from its former London base has proven much more than a tax-dodge.

The hedge fund giant has cut its headcount in the British capital to less than 200 of its more than 450 employees globally. The firm has only a "handful" of traders left in London, the Financial Times reports, and has now shifted the bulk of its operations to the Channel Island of Jersey—which is a British crown dependency, independent of the U.K. and not part of the European union, and thus not subject to its new hedge-fund rules.

Just four years ago, nearly all of Brevan's employees were in London.

As many as 60 Brevan employees will be based at its Jersey office by next year, according to the FT. The office, officially Brevan's headquarters, previously housed only a few administrative posts, but is now led by Brevan co-founder James Vernon, who returned to the firm last month after two years of retirement. The Jersey office will handle nearly all asset allocation, risk management, compliance and human resources functions, all of which were formerly housed in London.

Much of Brevan's trading now happens at its three-year-old Geneva, Switzerland, office, which is home to founder Alan Howard. Howard has pledged to remain in Geneva, where he moved to escape higher British taxes, until at least the end of next year.

Brevan has also lavishly built up staff in the U.S., where it now employs 60 people in New York and Washington, D.C. More than half of Brevan's investors are now in the U.S., and the firm has begun trading more there, as well.

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