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STEP Research Finds 'Offshore Vital For Global Growth'

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

05 November 2009


A report from prominent US economist James Hines, of the University of Michigan, commissioned by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), and based on extensive academic research, has argued that, contrary to claims made at the onset of the global financial crisis, well-regulated international financial centres play an instrumental role in providing economic growth, and stability.

Ahead of a G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting, the report gives a strong indication of the key role that well-regulated offshore centres now play in the global economy by providing capital to support business activity in neighbouring economies.

The report found strong evidence from a range of sources that offshore centres play a vital role in the international financial system, improving the availability of credit and encouraging competition in domestic banking systems. The result is a boost in investment in the major economies which ultimately supports job creation and growth, the study argued.

Author of the report, James Hines commented that:

“The evidence indicates that offshore centres contribute to financial development and stability in neighbouring countries, encouraging investment, employment, and other aspects of business development. They have salutary effects on tax competition, promote good government, and enhance economic growth elsewhere in the world.”

Chief Executive of STEP Worldwide, David Harvey welcomed the report, observing that:

“This report provides further robust evidence of the positive role offshore centres play in the world economy. Post credit-crunch we must ensure capital keeps flowing and Professor Hines’ report demonstrates by every measure credit is more freely available in countries which have close relationships with offshore centres”.

Last week, the Foot review of British offshore financial centres found that the territories provided invaluable net financing to the British banking system of USD332.5billion in the second quarter of 2009.

Geoff Cook, Chief Executive of Jersey Finance, observed of the STEP report:

“We have always understood that Jersey makes a positive contribution to the City of London and thereby to the economy of the UK. Now we have the independent evidence to show that not only is this the case, but that there are also global benefits to well-regulated international finance centres like Jersey, including wealth creation, employment, tax competition and high standards of governance.”

He concluded: "This is a significant, authoritative, detailed and credible research document compiled by a leading economist in the US and is further evidence of the valuable role played by leading international finance centres, backing up the findings of the Foot Review published last week.”


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