Time to hang up the wealth management black hat

As governments team up to lift the veil on former shelters for the wealthy the world over, here’s a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular places competing to manage the tax and finances of the rich.

The list is shortening as aggressive tax authorities in the US and Europe grapple to close loopholes and opportunities for wealth management.

  • Switzerland – The Swiss have fostered financial secrecy and discretion for hundreds of years, but tax deals with the UK and Austria, plus a forthcoming agreement with Germany have blown the lid off keeping cash and assets with the gnomes of Zurich.
  • Luxembourg – Membership of the European Union and the resulting tax treaty ties make Luxembourg a no-go area for clandestine wealth management
  • Liechtenstein – Taking part in a tax disclosure amnesty with the UK means opening the books for banks in the same way as banking secrecy has ended in Switzerland
  • Jersey and Guernsey – Basing an economy on exploiting tax loopholes for businesses and individuals is backfiring badly for the Channel Islands as the UK attacks QROPS offshore pensions, VAT mail order outfits and film investments favoured by celebrities like comic Jimmy Carr
  • British Virgin Islands – Tax treaties with the US, UK and India are unpeeling layers of banking secrecy
  • Monaco – Another no-go area for black-hat wealth management after the Uk ambassador Evelyne Genta remarked: “Monaco is ready to increase cooperation in the fight against tax fraud in accordance with international criteria.”
  • Cayman Islands – Allegedly, the home of more hedge funds than any other financial centre, like most other tropical paradises, tax treaties and international pressure are opening some of the Cayman’s darker places to the light.

The message from around the world is wealth management through legitimate means is the right of every taxpayer – but soon there will be nowhere left to hide for anyone trying to dodge or bend the rules.

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