Old Billingsgate Fish Market in London, where the 2013 Tory summer party was held (Shutterstock)
The finance sector formed the largest contingent at last year’s Conservative summer party. Of the 450 guests, 73 of them worked at, or owned, City firms.
Shore Capital, the City investment firm chaired by big Tory donor Howard Shore, sponsored the whole occasion.
Shore and his wife Andrée, who organised the event, hosted David and Samantha Cameron, his wife. Shore Capital sponsored a total of three tables at the event.
Among the ten hedge fund executives present were two of the Conservative’s most generous donors – hedge fund bosses Sir Michael Hintze and Lord Fink. Between them, Mr Hintze and Mr Fink have contributed £6.23m to Conservative party coffers during the past 12 years. They sponsored tables at a cost of up to £4,400 each.
Joining them as a table sponsor was Andrew Law, chairman of Caxton Associates. Mr Caxton made a fortune shorting the euro prior to the single currency crisis and is currently betting against the US dollar. Of Mr Law’s £1.1m donation to the Conservatives, nearly a third of his cash has been made over the past year.
Among the other City guests were a collection of wealth managers, bankers and asset managers.
The Square Mile’s contribution to Conservative finances has increased significantly under David Cameron’s leadership. In 2005, the Square Mile contributed 25% of funds. By 2011, Bureau data showed that percentage had more than doubled.
Attitudes to Europe
A recurring theme of the prime minster’s administration has been ensuring the City is protected from European regulation.
Two years ago, Mr Cameron used his veto to block a European financial stability pact as it would have given what he believed was significant regulatory power over the UK financial services industry to Brussels.
And Mr Cameron has been implacable in his opposition to some EU countries moves to introduce a financial transaction tax, which is likely to please leading donors such as Michael Spencer, the powerful founder of broking firm Icap. Spencer was not at the event.
The government has also strongly opposed restrictions to bankers bonuses.
Among the most City friendly policies have been rules in 2011 to exempt UK resident companies from corporation tax on non-UK branch profits and the introduction of a reduced tax rate to 5.75% on the treasury functions of large corporations in tax havens.
However, at the same time, the UK is considered to be taking a tough approach to capital requirement and leverage limits in Brussels negotiations aimed at creating a safer EU banking environment.