Is the world their oyster?

Alex Hawkes, Accountancy Age

The crisis in the US has levelled the playing field in the competition for
the international banking talent that, we are told, is so critical to the future
of the UK economy.

After Northern Rock collapsed and the government moved on to the non-doms,

there were dire predictions about London and the City. There still are.

But where would they go to? Not to the US, where there are unlikely to be
jobs (and, in any case, Sarbanes-Oxley militates against capital markets work).

Perhaps Dubai? The attraction of the middle east is that there are bags of
cash out there. The sovereign wealth funds look set to inherit the earth. There
must be roles for bankers and wealth creators to make money.

Switzerland strikes me as an attractive option too. If it were me, I’d go
there for the skiing, but I think the attraction may be more to do with schools,
healthcare and other issues.

Would you go to Ireland, where there is talk of ‘rolling out the red carpet’
for non-doms? Dublin is not the metropolis that London is, but you could
probably make a lot of money over there.

There are, in short, a whole wealth of options. But are the reasons for
moving abroad all about tax?

The UK economy is in the doldrums; house prices look set to plunge, the
public finances are preparing for a crunch, and the glum air is everywhere to be

If you’re rich enough to escape and can take advantage of all that the world
has to offer, by all means do.

London has a lot going for it and will no doubt continue to be a magnet for
talent. But if you are going to short the City, then now is the time to do it.

Alex Hawkes is the news editor of Accountancy Age

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