Campaigners say OECD action against banking secrecy has failed
06 October 2011
The campaigning body Tax Justice Network has published a report claiming that the OECD nations have failed to make any practical difference to international banking secrecy.
In its report, The 2011 Financial Secrecy Index, TJN ranks 73 international financial centres according to its estimates of their secrecy and the quantity of money that flows through them. It claims to deliver a "politically neutral" result.
The index uses fifteen factors to calculate the secrecy index of each jurisdiction. They include knowledge of beneficial ownership, corporate transparency regulation, regulatory efficiency, and international standards and cooperation.
According to TJN, its ranking reveals that "the world's most important providers of financial secrecy are not small, palm-fringed islands as many suppose, but some of the world's biggest and wealthiest countries". Indeed it puts countries such as the USA high on the secrecy list - not a view much promoted by the OECD's Global Tax Forum, the body responsible for the official campaign for international exchange of tax collection information.
Each of the 73 jurisdictions examined has its own report on the TJN website. Switzerland and the Cayman Islands are at the top of the list. This is mainly because of the large cash volumes they handle, although TJN also dismissed both jurisdictions' information exchange agreements as "ineffective".
Other leaders in the field are Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Delaware in the USA, Jersey and Bahrain. The UK, Japan and Germany are not far behind.
Tax Justice Network Financial Secrecy Index http://www.financialsecrecyindex.com/