UPDATE 1-Hedge fund firm Brevan Howard to open Swiss office

Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:44pm BST

* Plans office for staff who want to live in Geneva

* Says "completely coincidental" with rising UK tax

* No plans to move headquarters from London

By Laurence Fletcher

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Europe's biggest hedge fund firm Brevan Howard Asset Management told Reuters it is planning to open an office in Geneva, but said the move had nothing to do with an imminent rise in tax rates for top earners in the UK. "We've been looking to open an office in Switzerland," said Aron Landy, chief risk officer at the firm. "(It's) if there are people who for personal reasons want to live somewhere, we look at it... We've been looking at it for a long time."

He said the new office could be for any type or grade of staff, but declined to give details on how many employees would work there. The news comes amid speculation some hedge fund firms may leave the UK for Switzerland in response to a new 50 percent rate of tax for top earners and controversial draft EU rules on managers of hedge funds. [ID:nL41051566] However, Landy said Brevan Howard's plans were "completely coincidental" with those developments.

He added: "We have no plans to change anything (about the location of our headquarters)."

Brevan Howard ran $26.8 billion in assets at end-December, according to data from EuroHedge.

(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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