Hedge fund activity faces tax crackdown

The rapid development of new investment strategies devised by hedge funds has
attracted the interest of tax authorities.

The focus on taxation is because of the complex arrangements employed by the

Robert Mellor, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that because of this
complexity it could become risky for hedge funds to establish a taxable presence
in European jurisdictions where tax policies remained uncertain.

‘With the emergence of some of the new fund strategies, the risk of creating
a taxable presence in an onshore EU jurisdiction is significantly increased,’
Mellor said.

Debbie Payne, hedge fund senior manager at PwC, said the lack of consistency
in taxation policy towards hedge funds in Europe was limiting the opportunities
for the funds to distribute their products throughout the continent and
fragmenting the market.

‘The industry wants to be able to distribute product in Europe without
incurring unnecessary tax, but this will remain difficult if the tax treatments
continue to differ in member states,’ she said.

Hedge funds are also facing a change to their corporate governance structures
and internal controls, Payne said.

Regulators have taken a close look at the way funds are run, while the funds
themselves have sought financial backing from mainstream institutional
investors. As a result hedge funds had to revaluate the way they are managed.

Over the last year hedge funds have been the topic of consultations and
discussions issued by regulators worldwide. The SEC, European Central Bank, the
International Organisation of Securities Commissions and the European Commission
have all developed discussion papers, rules and best practice guidelines for the

Local regulators, including the UK’s Financial Services Authority and the
Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets, have also reviewed and consulted on
the activities of hedge funds.


Austria: Fund is tax transparent
Denmark: Tax exempt. Subject to a final withholding tax of 15%
on dividends received on shares in Danish companies
France: Fund tax is transparent
Germany: Tax exempt
Ireland: Tax Exempt
Netherlands: Dutch funds are either transparent or subject to a
special tax regime (0% corporate income tax)
Spain: Corporate tax on net profits at a 1% rate
UK: Funds organised as OIEICs/AUTs taxed on income at 20% with
capital gains exempt from tax. Unauthorised unit trusts are taxed at 22%

Source: PwC


Parker in Mondi link

Sir John Parker, currently the chairman of National Grid,has been linked to
the chairmanship of paper and packaging giant Mondi,which is set for a listing
on the London Stock Exchange. Mondi, currently a subsidiary of mining group
Anglo American, is to be demerged via the listing. It is expected to be valued
at £2bn, placing it on the brink of the FTSE 100.

If Mondi does break intothe top flight with Parker atthe helm, Parker could
find himself in breach of the combined code on corporate governance. The code
saysno individual should bethe chairman of two FTSE 100 companies.

Tomkins debt to grow

Ken Lever, the finance director at engineering company Tomkins, expects the
company to increase the debt on its balance sheet as it grows.

In an interview on, Lever said: ‘Debt will actually grow over time
as the group grows, in order to maintain the efficiency of the balance sheet.’

He said increasing debt as the company grew was to the benefit of

Data input for Pearson

The FT Group, a subsidiary of Pearson, has bought merger and acquisition data
provider Mergermarket for £101m.

Mergermarket is anessential tool for corporate financiers and FDs involved in
mergers and acquisitions. Mergermarket was formed six years ago.

Reed’s reward

Alison Reed, the FD ofrecently floated life insurer Standard Life, is to be
rewarded for the successful demutualisation and float of the business on the
London Stock Exchange with 337,880 shares in the company.

Standard Life’s shares have been trading at the 290p level, which values
Reed’s award at approximately £979,000. In order to cash in on the windfall,
Reed and the other Standard Life executives will have to deliver a 10.5%
increase on embedded value by the end of next year.

Sands works hard

Peter Sands, the groupfinance director of Standard Chartered, has said he
wants to work the FTSE 100 bank’s balance sheet harder by using more credit
derivatives and securitisations.

‘We want to work the balance sheet harder. We are using credit derivatives
much more, we’re using securitization much more. We want to use these tools to
both help us optimise our risk profile and to extract even greater returns from
capital,’ Sands told

Sands was speaking asthe FTSE 100 bank reporteda 27% increase in interim
operating income to $4.1bn (£2.15bn).

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