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On 2 April, the G20 will publish a list of offshore jurisdictions deemed ripe for regulatory overhaul. Politicians set their sights on the offshore world some time ago, but with western economies now in meltdown it has become an urgent matter.
Offshore lawyers are becoming increasingly vocal about their work in response to ever growing political pressures upon them. Unsurprisingly, they are keen to defend their jurisdictions.
Jersey Finance chief executive Geoff Cook says offshore centres did not have a major role to play in the current recession, with the economic woes starting largely in the UK and the US. For Nick Kershaw, group chief executive of Jersey-based firm Ogier, the idea that offshore jurisdictions are driven by secrecy is simply wrong.
Far from being detrimental to the offshore market, the fact that offshore jurisdictions are facing a massive regulatory overhaul means the offshore firms are thriving. With clients looking to maximise liquidity in the global recession offshore firms, unlike their onshore counterparts, are hiring lawyers.
The global structure of offshore firms mean they are well positioned to fight off a global meltdown. Tighter regulatory controls will improve the reputation of offshore centres, bolstering the offshore legal market in the process.