Hedge funds and financial institutions based in the Cayman Islands have been pulling their money out of Britain as they are hit by the credit crunch, according to figures from the Bank of England.
The low-tax regime and limited regulation of the Cayman Islands – with a population of 52,000 – has attracted 80% of the world’s $1.3tn (£790bn) hedge fund industry.
Those institutions have almost halved their deposits in UK banks over the past 12 months, from $356bn at the end of the first quarter in 2008, to $173bn at the end of March, Bank of England data shows. The drop in Cayman Islands’ deposits comes as hedge funds are being forced to return money to investors who have made big losses from the financial crisis. It also reflects fund losses from falling markets.
The outflow of funds from Britain puts the spotlight on hedge fund threats to abandon the UK because of higher taxes, tighter regulation and potential caps on executive pay and bonuses.