ONE of the most powerful City investment figures believes there is zero chance of George Osborne responding to calls to abolish stamp duty on all listed shares in next month’s Budget.
In doing so, Daniel Godfrey, chief executive of the Investment Association, has broken ranks with the boss of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), who recently urged the Chancellor to abolish the tax.
LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet said more needed to be done to make financial markets accessible, and that the removal of stamp duty on the smaller Alternative Investment Market in 2014 had had a “very positive impact”.
But Godfrey, whose Investment Association is the trade body for Britain’s fund management industry, controlling £5 trillion of funds, claimed it was “unrealistic” to expect a further concession amid the government’s austerity continuing programme.
“It’s not going to happen. We have been looking at it and talking about it since the 1980s, but the government know it is an easy way to raise money,” Godfrey said. “It is not a case of being cynical. We have to think about the nation’s finances and appreciate the reality. And the reality is that I don’t believe the complete removal of duty will happen any time soon.”
Despite his scepticism, Godfrey said he and his 200 members would support abolition, as there remained work to be done to make a UK domicile for fund managers “more attractive and remove some of the disadvantages”.
The organisation was formed this year from the merger of the Investment Management Association and the investment affairs arm of the Association of British Insurers.