Morning Coffee: Brevan Howard and the art of ditching the City. It’s OK, the bonus cap is now 250%

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Fancy working for Brevan Howard? Better get to know Geneva. The secretive hedge fund now just has a “handful” of traders left in the UK and has been quietly moving out front office staff to its office in Switzerland, as well as to the Channel Islands and building its presence in Asia and the U.S.

The alarm bells should have been raised earlier this year, when we revealed that it had relocated four more partners from London to Geneva. Brevan Howard still has around 200 employees in London, according to the Financial Times, but the majority of the traders have left in order to escape the Alternative Fund Manager Directive that’s set to be launched in the U.K., despite the fact that the rules are not as strict as first feared and most hedge funds have dealt with them.

It’s also an attempt to “internationalise” itself away from London, and the firm will have as many as 60 employees in Jersey by next year, having appointed Brevan’s co-founder James Vernon to lead the office in September.

Anyone opting for a transfer to Geneva should get used to a slower pace of life. Hedge funds have been increasingly shifting employees to Switzerland in recent years, including to the sleepy town of Zug, which hasn’t always sat well with their families, who often resist the move.

Separately, the European Banking Commission has made a small concession to its proposed bonus cap. It’s should now be possible, assuming shareholder approval, to receive 250% of base salary (rather than 200%) as a bonus. The catch is that the additional 50% has to be deferred over five years.


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