Following the media in secrecy jurisdictions sometimes leads to the websites of offshore secrecy suppliers offering “wealth protection” and “sovereign investment”. These companies almost invariably have an ideological sales pitch, along the lines of “we provide asset protection for those who don’t trust the government”.
Beyond providing a window onto the way in which offshore secrecy operates there is rarely anything of news value on these sites. A section in this recent report by a supplier of “rock-solid offshore asset protection” is different, as it includes some welcome evidence of possible changes in the offshore world (link provided as reference not endorsement):
“For 2014 and beyond, British territories are definitely out”
The context for this shocking piece of news is that the UK recently committed to a public registry of beneficial ownership, an essential measure to combat tax evasion and money-laundering. According to the report, however, a public registry is equivalent to publishing details of “private bank accounts or credit card statements” and has been “disastrous” for offshore business in British Overseas Territories, who are being forced to follow the “official diktats” from London.
Offshore users who want to avoid this “new British drive for “transparency”” should avoid territories such as “the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Turks and Caicos”. In fact, the Channel Islands should be avoided too: “If you already have assets in these jurisdictions, think about restructuring”.
The poor lambs.