Tuesday, 5 May 2015

No political party in Europe has done more

If there's a bustle in your hedge fund, don't be alarmed now - it's just the fund stream for the party machine:*
No political party in Europe has done more for hedge funds and bankers in recent years than the British Conservatives.

And the party has been well rewarded for it.

Hedge fund managers have been writing eye-popping checks to the Conservative Party before the British election on Thursday. And with no campaign finance limits for party donations, there is little to hold them back.

More than $2.3 million has come since last year from Michael Hintze, an Australian billionaire who lives in London, where he founded the hedge fund CQS. Michael Farmer, another hedge fund manager, has donated roughly $2.2 million over the same reporting period, and far more in the last decade. Stanley Fink, who once ran the Man Group and has been party treasurer, has donated $1.3 million since the 2010 election, records show.
Danny Hakim in the NYT's Dealbook column. Now it might be that the City hotshots are simply prone to spontaneous bouts of disinterested generosity but, as Danny points out, in the hands of a less public-spirited group of people, a million quid here or there could buy somebody a pretty hefty pro quo:
Britain’s Conservative-led government has been battling both at home and in Brussels on behalf of hedge funds and other financial interests.

In Britain, it scrapped a “stamp duty reserve tax” aimed at some investment funds, saving the industry more than $200 million a year. In the European Union, it waged a court battle against curbs on short-selling, resisted ceding authority to European banking regulators and fought a proposed tax on financial transactions.

It also fought, albeit unsuccessfully, a move by Brussels to cap bonuses paid to bankers. Boris Johnson, the silver-tongued Conservative mayor of London, called it “possibly the most deluded measure to come from Europe since Diocletian tried to fix the price of groceries across the Roman Empire.” 
It's old news, but there's probably no time like the present to reflect on who's funding a party that's recently seen its membership shrink by half and its reliance on handouts from the City of London double.

* Sorry about the scansion.