UPDATE 2-Tullett Prebon to help brokers seek tax exile

Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:33am EST

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* Says will respond to relocation requests "where possible"

* Says would relocate brokers to other Tullett offices

* Declines comment on report of potential HQ move (Adds more detail)

LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) - British interdealer broker Tullett Prebon (TLPR.L) said it would help relocate staff who want to avoid the UK's controversial bonus tax, underscoring fears the levy could prompt an exodus of finance workers.

Tullett, the world's second-biggest interdealer broker, is the first major City of London player to say openly it is considering moving employees overseas to help them avoid the UK's rising fiscal burden.

"The board has concluded that it is in the best interests of shareholders to respond to requests from desks to relocate out of the UK and will seek to facilitate, where possible and appropriate, relocation to the company's other offices around the world which have more certain taxation regimes," a Tullett spokesman said.

The spokesman declined to comment on a Sky News report that Tullett was also considering moving its corporate headquarters outside the UK for tax purposes.

Refusing staff relocation requests could induce Tullett's star brokers to defect to competitors, eroding the company's revenues.

Tullett is embroiled in a legal battle over staff departures with arch-rival BGC. [ID:nLD651331]

UK finance minister Alistair Darling last week announced a one-off 50 percent tax on bank bonuses, provoking outrage across the industry and raising fears that London could lose talented staff and businesses to other financial centres. [ID:nGEE5B8166]

The bonus tax comes on top of a 50 percent income tax rate on all earnings over 150,000 pounds introduced earlier this year.

Tullett, which acts as a middleman in derivatives trades between investment banks, employs about 700 brokers in London and has offices in 21 countries outside the UK.

Tullett shares were up 0.8 percent at 295 pence by 1345 GMT. (Reporting by Myles Neligan)

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