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Panama Papers and the banks

According to the Panama Papers, banks set up 15,600 offshore companies. HSBC alone set up more than 2,300. HSBC is the bank that nearly lost its US licence a few years ago when it was discovered that one of its clients was one of the most murderous and wealthiest drugs barons in Mexico. It would appear that they didn’t learn from their past mistakes and that the lure of wealth and huge profits made them forget their moral, ethical and legal obligations.

But the Panama Papers could be just the tip of the iceberg –  let’s not pretend for a minute that there was anything unusual about Mossack Fonseca, because there was not. This is just one of a host of law firms in tax havens doing remarkably similar things. The need is for the FCA to demand that banks put on record all their connections with secrecy jurisdiction lawyers, accountants etc.

This could all lead to hefty fines for the banks, on top of the fines they have already had for fixing the FX markets, gold prices, Libor – the list goes on and on. Plus, hopefully it will help ensure investment banks are a lot more transparent on what they are doing and with whom in the future. 

With this in mind, be cautious as to where you place your money as some banks may struggle to survive.

If you want to know what your options are, I am here to help you find the right solution to make your money work for you in the most tax-efficient way possible. You can find out more about our financial management services here and get in touch with me directly by filling in an enquiry form

Other News

TOP TIPS: Moving to Spain

Map of SpainAre you on the brink of becoming a British expat in Spain or perhaps you recently moved to Spain and are now trying to get your finances in order? With four branches across Spain, Blacktower Financial Management is ideally placed to support you.

Here we share our Top Tips to assist you on your journey with some cross-border specific financial information.

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Assurance Vie and Fonds En Euro/Sterling

Simon VerityMany clients have sensibly opted to invest in Assurance Vie (Investment Bonds) type arrangements in France for the huge income tax and inheritance advantages offered though these products for French residents. A large selection of clients have also taken the option of using the Fond en Euros or Sterling funds preferring the guaranteed rates of return offered and the invested capital’s security.

Indeed so used are the Fond en Euros funds within Assurance vie “wrappers” that often clients believe that they are one and the same. The Fond en Euros main principles are that your capital’s value is guaranteed and you are given an annual rate of interest. The assurance vie ensures your funds grow free of French taxation due to the code of law relating to Life Insurance products. This combination has been so used in France and so much money tied up in these arrangements that the Government want to bring in a statute to limit the percentage invested into Fond en Euros per investor portfolio as they see this type of fund as stagnating the French economy and restricting investment into industry via the purchase of “actions” or shares. 

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