Negative news for Hong Kong & Singapore which have climbed positions in a 2015 index of the world’s offshore havens compiled by the Tax Justice Network, mainly as a result of their financial secrecy.
As seen by the countries’ performance in the report, both Asian financial hubs have not made sufficient reforms to their corporate secrecy regimes during the past year, according to the London-based TJN, which campaigns for greater transparency in finance.
Singapore’s ranking moved up one place from fifth to fourth, compared with the organisation’s previous index published in 2013. According to TJN, Singapore’s lack of interest in keeping country-by-country reports or in creating public registries of beneficial ownership.
The two jurisdictions each account for approximately 4% of the global market for offshore financial services and they are exposed to offshore flows due to their rising assets under management and their status as hubs in the region, said the TJN.
As stated by an official of Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the Asian jurisdiction has no laws to protect bank secrecy and therefore Hong Kong has never attracted foreign capital by such means.
The official added in his written statement that Hong Kong supports the international efforts to enhance tax transparency and also combat tax evasion.