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130/08

02 December 2008

Independent Review into British Offshore Financial centres

The Government today announced that Michael Foot, currently Chairman of the UK office of Promontory Financial Group, will lead the independent review of British offshore financial centres announced at Pre-Budget Report 2008. The review will look at the immediate and long-term challenges facing British offshore financial centres in the current economic climate, including:

The Government has been clear that the variety of existing constitutional arrangements in place across these territories will continue to be respected, including their independence in fiscal matters and the setting of their own rates of taxation.

Welcoming the launch of the review, the Financial Services Secretary, Paul Myners, said:

"I welcome the appointment of Michael Foot who brings significant experience in financial regulation to this task. Offshore financial centres must play a responsible role in the global financial system. This review will take a serious and constructive look at the challenges these centres face in the current economic climate, and how they can best respond to these. “

The Minister for the Crown Dependencies, Lord Bach, said:

"This Review is an opportunity for the Crown Dependencies to demonstrate their strong track record in the regulation of their financial services industries. The Review will allow the Crown Dependencies to participate in an open debate about how they can best be equipped to withstand the current difficult economic climate without calling into question their constitutional arrangements. In this regard, I am pleased to see that the Review specifically excludes constitutional change from its scope."

The Minister for the Overseas Territories, Gillian Merron MP, said:

I am impressed by the positive discussions I have had with the Overseas Territories on financial services regulation recently, and hope that the review may be helpful to those overseas territories, with significant financial services industries, to prepare for the challenges of the future.

Michael Foot said:

After working as a financial regulator in the UK and overseas, I have direct experience of the achievements of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. I am looking forward to working with them to see how best the important contribution of their financial sectors can be underpinned and strengthened for the future in these challenging economic times.”

Notes for Editors

1.        The full terms of reference were developed following consultation with the Governments of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories and are available on the Treasury’s website

2.       The PBR announcement of this review can be found at paragraphs 3.55 and 3.56 of the PBR. The Chancellor’s speech is also available.

3.       The Review aims to produce interim conclusions for Budget 2009, with fuller conclusions later in the year. Mr Foot will make further announcements on the timetable and framework for the review in due course.

4.       Only those Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories with significant financial sectors are included in the scope of the review. In scope are: Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla. Out of scope are: Falkland Islands, Montserrat, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena.

5.       Crown Dependencies' and Overseas Territories' reaction to the announcement can be found on their websites: Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and British Virgin Islands

6.       UK Government is committed to working with international partners (including Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories) in seeking global solutions to current economic circumstances. UK’s international engagement has been guided by The Prime Minister’s 5 principles of transparency, in relation to risks and balance sheets; integrity, and the absence of conflicts of interest in the system; responsibility of management for the risks they undertake; sound banking practices, with respect to risk and capital adequacy; and coordination across borders in recognition of global markets.

7.       Biographical details for Michael Foot:

 

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