UK MP defends Isle of Man

CONSERVATIVE MP Mark Field aimed to set the record straight on offshore finance centres, including the Isle of Man, in Westminster yesterday.
The MP for the Cities of London and Westminister believes the debate over the role of small international finance centres has been ‘remarkably one-sided’.

Mr Field said: “As international organisations and major governments seek to understand the cause of the global financial crisis, small international financial centres (IFCs) have repeatedly endured political attacks and misguided criticism.

“From pejorative sniping about their being tax havens for avaricious bankers to allegations that they provide secrecy jurisdictions for shady figures in the international business community and are in part to blame for shortcomings in the financial markets, the debate over the role of small IFCs has been, to date, remarkably one-sided.

“This is unfortunate as it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of their function and the benefits they provide to the wider global economy.”

He said there is a mutually beneficial relationship between the City of London and many Crown Dependencies and overseas territories “demonstrated not only by the massive capital flows between the two which aid market liquidity and investment in the UK, but also legal and consitutional similarities and the transfer of skilled professionals”.

“To give some idea of the scale of those capital flows, UK banks had net financing from Guernsey alone of $74.1 billion at the end of June 2009.”

“Unfortunately, because the public debate is largely myopic when it comes to IFCs these benefits are often overlooked or conveniently ignored.

“This is in part as a result of small IFCs relatively low profile from, for instance, a lack of seats at the intergovernmental bodies which design global financial regulation.

“There now needs to be a much greater understanding of the role and proven benefits provided by small international financial centres as part of the City of London’s transaction chain.”

Mr Field, who made his comments in a debate in Parliament about offshore financial centres, then went on to dispel common myths. More at