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Off-shore centres – high and dry? A round-table on what off-shore financial centres still have to offer, and whether criticism of them is fair and accurate. With Geoff Cook (Jersey Finance), Stephen Platt ( BakerPlatt) and Vanessa Houlder ( Financial Times ). To be held on Tuesday, March 31, 2009, at Innholders Hall, 30 College Street, London , EC4R 2RH, from 12:30-2:15pm.
(With support from Jersey Finance)

These are tough times for off-shore financial centres. Indeed, it sometimes seems as
though all that G-20 leaders can agree on is that they must beat up on off-shore
centres from the Channel Islands to Switzerland and the Caribbean. The OECD is
tightening up its list of non-compliant jurisdictions; FATF is sharpening its claws.

So, do they have a future? And are the criticisms justified? Is there anything that a jurisdiction like Jersey or another offshore centre has to offer – to individuals or corporates – that would warrant the extra hassle of dealing off-shore? No surprise, I guess, that the centres themselves believe that they have been hard done-to, and that they still have a role to play. Indeed, that they have a role that may expand as we all have to work harder (and longer) to finance our retirement and to pass on some of our hard-earned wealth to our heirs. We are, therefore, delighted to have been able to pull together a panel to look at some of the criticisms levelled at them, and at the challenges and opportunities that the off-shore centres face:

– Geoff Cook is the chief executive of Jersey Finance, set up in 2001 to represent the island’s finance industry and to promote its role as an international finance centre. He is a former head of wealth management at HSBC Bank in the UK.

– Stephen Plat t is chairman of the BakerPlatt Group, a leading offshore law firm specialising in financial crime and international co-operation. He is an internationally recognised expert on the criminal vulnerabilities of the financial services industry both on and offshore.

– Vanessa Houlder is a leading journalist at the Financial Times, specialising in tax issues. She is a former LexisNexis tax writer of the year.

We also hope to include on the panel Pascal Saint-Amans, head of the OECD’s
international cooperation and tax competition division.

If you are able to join us for what I am sure will be a lively discussion, would you let us know by emailing or by telephoning 020 7493 0173. As usual,
wine and sandwiches will be provided.