Richard Hay presents the case for the importance, and especially the trustworthiness, of International Financial Centres. Whilst looking at the specific functions and roles that these centres occupy, he posits exactly what the world at large has to learn from them, and what they stand to lose without them. This is the second lecture from the Long Finance Spring Conference 2014.
With three nearby Crown Dependencies and six overseas territories promoting themselves as ‘international financial centres’, the UK seems to value offshore centres. Yet during current financial crises these havens are easy scapegoats. At the 2011 G20 Summit in Cannes, President Nicolas Sarkozy stated, “We don’t want any more tax havens. Our message is clear, countries that remain tax havens … will be shunned by the international community”. But do these centres add value? And what of onshore havens such as Delaware, Monaco, Luxembourg ... London? This symposium will explore the good, the bad and the ugly – savings, crimes and tax. We will look at how offshore centres do add value, their dangers and how things might evolve to something, perhaps “mid-shore”.
Richard Hay has practised in London for 25 years as the tax partner and head of the private banking practice at Stikeman Elliott, Canadian and International lawyers. Prior to entering practice, Richard was a tax law professor lecturing in international taxation and securities law in Canada and at the National University of Singapore.
Richard advises on international taxation and financial regulation policy, including the initiatives pursued by the G-20, the OECD, the EU, the FATF and the IMF. Richard acts for the IFC Forum (www.ifcforum.org) which represents the major professional firms in the British offshore centres in international policy dialogues on financial regulation.