The number of companies based in some of the UK’s best-known offshore financial services jurisdictions, including the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man has dropped over the last five-plus years, in response to “a backlash against offshore finance”, the Financial Times has reported.
“The fall has eclipsed a slight rise in the Cayman Islands and Guernsey, while there has been little change in Bermuda and Jersey,” according to the report, which was published in Monday’s edition of the FT, and is also available through the publication’s online edition.
The FT report notes that the drop in the use of the traditional British “offshore havens” has taken place at the same time that the use for corporate services of such centres as Hong Kong, the Seychelles and Delaware, which “service the Asian and US markets”, has grown rapidly.
The US state of Delaware, according to the FT’s research, has seen a 23% rise in incorporations, to 1.14m since 2010, while the US state of Nevada has seen a 16% rise, to 325,000, and even the “onshore” jurisdiction of the UK a 37% increase, to 3.7m incorporated entities.
As reported, both Nevada and the UK were included among the “top 10 jurisdictions” used by clients of the Panama office of Mossack Fonseca, according to last month’s reports of a major leak of documents from that law firm revealed. That leak, of a reported 11.5 million documents, has already added to calls for more transparency of corporate ownership in all jurisdictions, onshore and off.
The leak was managed by the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which has said it plans to continue to release information based on the leaked document archive, and in a few days’ time will unveil a “searchable database” of more than 200,000 entities that were found among the Mossack Fonseca material.