This Swiss village bet on hedge funds and lost

Pfaeffikon castle in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland, on Dec. 4, 2018. Foto: Bloomberg photo by Stefan Wermuth.

As the clock ticks down toward Brexit, cities across Europe are scrambling to win jobs fleeing the City of London. In the Swiss village of Pfaeffikon-once one of the biggest global centers for hedge fund money-a potential influx of investing professionals is being met with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

The sleepy lakefront settlement of 7,000, a half-hour from Zurich, understands the perils of relying on finance as an economic engine. In the first decade of this century, Pfaeffikon prospered as its low taxes attracted global financial firms, particularly hedge funds. The population jumped, tax revenue soared, and glass-and-steel office buildings sprang up in the meadows flanking the main street...

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