2015 Financial Secrecy Index

Here’s a table of the top 50 jurisdictions in this year’s rankings with Switzerland (once again) topping the list.

Like clockwork, the Swiss come in first thanks to its tough bank secrecy laws and push to build “market share in some of the world’s more vulnerable and badly governed developing countries, which will therefore continue to suffer Swiss-sanctioned élite looting.”

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Problems with the USA and the United Kingdom

Surprisingly enough, the USA moved up three spots in this year’s rankings, making it to the podium and receiving a bronze medal for its secretive financial system and lack of reciprocity.

According to the Tax Justice Network, despite the US confronting American tax evaders head-on via the implementation of FATCA and likeminded regulations, it fails when it comes to providing other jurisdictions with information on their citizens’ accounts in the US.

About the US the organization says, “It is more of a cause for concern than any other individual country – because of both the size of its offshore sector, and also its rather recalcitrant attitude to international co-operation and reform.”

John Christensen, Tax Justice Network’s Executive Director, adds, “The United States dealt global financial secrecy a devastating blow by forcing strongholds such as Switzerland to open up. But after this blistering start in efforts to protect itself, it is backsliding by failing to provide information in the other direction: refusing to participate directly in global transparency initiatives such as the multilateral automatic information exchange and, inexcusably, lobbying to block public country by country corporate reporting. The USA must finally overcome its historically rooted opposition to reasonable tax data sharing with its trade and investment partners.”

The United Kingdom does not fare much better.

In fact, if the Financial Secrecy Index combined the UK with its Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies such as the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, it would go home with a shiny gold medal. Even though the British government has pushed automatic exchange of information onto its territories, it “has failed to force them to create public registries of beneficial ownership, despite having the power to do so.”
Singapore and Hong Kong — No Interest in Common Reporting Standard

Both Hong Kong and Singapore earn high rankings as a result of their dislike for CRS and any sort of exchange of information.

Hong Kong, for instance, “hasn’t signed the multilateral agreement to initiate automatic information exchange via the CRS; it has a problematic record on corporate transparency; and unlike European countries it appears to have little appetite for country-by-country reporting or for creating registers of beneficial ownership.”
Luxembourg: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Luxembourg, referred to as “Death Star of financial secrecy inside Europe” by the organization, improved its ranking in 2015, dropping four spots to number six.

What explains this improvement?

Tax Justice Network says it’s a combination of “the evolving international climate on transparency… with high-profile global scandals that have cast the tax haven in a highly negative light. These changes also coincide with the departure of Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, arguably the most important architect of the secretive modern tax haven. “

Source  Tax Justice Network – TaxLinked – by Mateo Jarrin