The Secret Service

Should offshore jurisdictions band together to combat the barrage of political rhetoric haunting their shores? Walkers’ global managing partner Grant Stein certainly thinks so.

Speaking exclusively to The Lawyer, Stein has called on offshore jurisdictions to put together a coordinated response to the recent list from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that rated centres on their confidentiality, secrecy and transparency credentials (The Lawyer, 27 July).

According to Stein, agencies such as Guernsey Finance and Cayman Islands Financial Services should form a global alliance.

“They’ll have to come together to show a united front and they can be helped in that by the private sector,” Stein argues. Historically, competition between offshore jurisdictions has been fierce. There was an attempt back in 1998 at a public sector coalition but it failed to make any progress and eventually fell apart.

Now western legislators are threatening to crack down on tax evaders by toughening up international legislation relating to offshore jurisdictions. They intend to work together to achieve their goal.

If offshore centres are to avoid excessive red tape, they must also work together to promote the benefits the sector can bring to the global marketplace.

Time to speak with one voice.


Also in The Lawyer offshore special report Guernsey Finance chief executive Peter Niven discuss how Guernsey is improving its global standing;  Harneys partner Phillip Kite looks at the impact of the Madoff scandal on offshore centres and Appleby’s Andrew Willins looks at what impact the recession is having on the British Virgin Islands (BVI).