Famous female headhunter may face enormous tax bill

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Philippa Rose has been in the news more often than usual recently. Firstly, as we reported last week, her firm (The Rose Partnership) is merging with Global Sage. Secondly, Rose was among those identified by the Financial Times last weekend as having invested in a film finance scheme, 'Eclipse 35', many of the participants in which are said to be facing large and unexpected tax bills.

The FT says a typical investor in Eclipse 35 put in £400k in cash and borrowed £19.6m from Barclays. Income from the related film rights would pay back the £19.6m loan, but typical investors now face a £4m tax liability over the scheme's 20 year life. In other words, £200k a year.

It's not clear whether Rose was a typical investor, how much she put in, or how much additional tax she owes - if any. We asked for a comment from the Rose Partnership, but didn't immediately receive a response.

A graduate of Bristol Polytechnic, Rose began her career in the City as a fixed interest fund manager at Kleinwort Benson in 1978. In 1981, she left to form the Rose Partnership after noting that a lot of her young colleagues at Kleinwort were unhappy in their jobs. "Nobody else out there was covering the 28-year-olds. The 26 to 30-year-olds was my patch, and I had that bit of the market sewn up,” she told the FT. Over the years, she's moved onto placing far more senior people and now specialises in executive committee and board assignements. 

Rose has five children, the youngest of whom is seven. In the event that Eclipse 35 does lead to a large tax bill, she may be able to pay it: last time we looked at accounts for the Rose Partnership she had earned £2.7m (in the 12 months to June 2010.)

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