Sir Philip Bailhache has told around 200 politicians, officials and industry representatives linked to offshore finance that the unfair perception of small territories was a massive challenge – and that the reality was that small territories were often better regulated than their larger neighbours.
He gave the keynote speech at the Liechtenstein Dialogue on the Future of Financial Markets on Friday evening, saying that small jurisdictions had to fight a ‘PR battle’ to improve an outdated and unfair international image.
‘The major challenge, in my view, is to defuse the antagonism towards small financial centres brought about by globalisation,’ he said.
‘One can understand that it is difficult in a world of freely flowing capital for a large economy to protect jobs, and to meet pension, health and welfare obligations.
‘It is all too tempting for the elephant to stamp in frustration on the smaller and more agile animals on the jungle floor.
Lip service is paid to tax competition, but the instincts of larger countries too often rebel against it.
While it was easy for large jurisdictions and organisations to criticise small offshore centres, said Sir Philip Bailhache, it was not always fair to do so.