UK hedge funds to hunt for NEDs

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Offshore hedge funds in the Cayman Islands are said to be scouting for non-executive directors. Recruiters say their counterparts in London will soon be doing the same.

According to the website the islands' offshore hedge fund community is increasingly interested in independent directors who can raise standards in the industry. UK-based recruiters say the phenomenon has yet to hit London but that it is imminent.

"Financial services firms have typically been slower than their peers in appointing non-executive directors (NEDs)," says Susannah Pringle, director of the board practice at search firm Hanson Green. "But we predict that scrutiny of the sector means hedge funds will increasingly look to appoint NEDs in the future."

At present, Pringle says most hedge funds recruit NEDs through their own professional networks, making them less independent than if sourced through a search firm.

Whether total strangers will want to be hedge fund NEDs is, of course, another matter. Directors in the Cayman Islands are said to be wary of the sector. Following the closure of London-based funds such as Bailey Coates, and fishy goings on at the likes of Wood River in the US, would-be NEDs in the UK could be forgiven for thinking twice before taking the plunge.