Hedge funds moving away from Mayfair

City A.M. Reporter
London hedge funds are shunning their traditional heartland in Mayfair, the city's most expensive office neighbourhood, pushed out by straitened financial circumstances and the desire to dump their racy image for something more businesslike.

The Mayfair and St James's district, including the so-called "hedge fund alley" of Curzon Street and Berkeley Square, contains some of London's most expensive shops and restaurants and is a short walk across Hyde Park for numerous fund managers living in upmarket residential areas like Knightsbridge and Chelsea.

A string of funds set up in the area's converted Georgian townhouses between 2005 and 2007, many of them escapees from investment banking jobs in the more traditional financial districts of the City and Canary Wharf further east.

But the Mayfair set are on the wane.

Fifty-one percent of hedge funds and private equity firms in London's wider West End area were located in Mayfair and St James's in the last quarter of 2011, down from 69 percent five years ago, data from property consultancy Cushman and Wakefield shows.

"That figure is likely to fall to below half within the next twelve months," said Elaine Rossall, head of London research at Cushman and Wakefield. "Costs are being scrutinised whatever industry you are in."