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Probe looks at offshore centres

MPs are launching an inquiry into offshore financial centres to investigate issues over transparency and financial stability.

The Treasury select committee says it wants to investigate the importance of offshore financial centres to worldwide financial hubs, potential threats to financial stability and levels of transparency of offshore financial centres as they pass through to the UK’s tax authorities and regulators.

It will also look at taxation policies of offshore centres and their impact on UK tax revenue and policy, potential involvement with terrorist activity and risks of tax evasion.

Scottish Life International chief executive David Kneeshaw believes the investigation is too wide-ranging but he is sure that offshore centres such as the Isle of Man will emerge well.

He says: “I think that the levels of transparency, client information and our approach to issues such as money laundering and understanding where our clients’ money is coming from are vastly superior to any financial organisations that work onshore.

“It will be interesting to see who they are really targeting with this. Is it places like the Isle of Man, Switzerland or are they talking about the Cayman Islands and Bermuda?”

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