Tables and Forums
Monday, November 28, 2011
I was fortunate recently to be able to attend the IFC Forum's first major conference held in London, in association with the Commonwealth Secretariat. The day brought together a number of key speakers and, overall, it was a successful exercise.
Although it was arguably a case of preaching to the converted, the key point to come out of the event was just how important it is for IFCs to work together to dispel some of the myths surrounding transparency, cooperation and standards of regulation.
Whilst there is some excellent work being done behind the scenes in this respect, there is still some way to go in terms of voicing a joined-up message in the media. It is clearly in the interests of IFCs to respond in a unified manner to the allegations that are aimed their way by various campaign groups, who certainly are operating in a coordinated way.
Meanwhile, it has been interesting to note how IFCs have responded to the raft of tables and rankings that have been published recently, the Global Financial Centres Index, Financial Secrecy Index, OECD reports, Global Forum Peer Reviews, and so on.
People might question the credibility of each table or report, but what they all do is underline that IFCs are different from and in competition with each other. The end result, unfortunately for IFCs, is to create a picture of confusion rather than coordination and consistency.
It will be interesting to see how the IFC Forum develops, hopefully encouraging IFCs to engage in some meaningful debate. At the same time, whilst there is benefit in healthy competition between IFCs, the argument for them to tackle the key issues together in a credible, positive and collaborative way is getting stronger.