Treasury Minister Anne Craine MHK delivered the prestigious Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands lecture in November, on the subject of 'Extinction or Evolution – The Future for Offshore Centres'
Mrs Craine told the audience of more than 300 leading City financiers, regulators and tax experts that the Isle of Man has an important role to play in international finance and highlighted the contribution the Island makes to the City of London.
She noted Michael Foot's remarks that, "the Crown Dependencies made a significant contribution to the liquidity of the UK market. Together they provided net financing to UK banks of $332 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2009."
Mrs Craine said, "Whether it is listing, upstreaming, asset management, insurance, or shipping – or even the space industry - everything the Isle of Man does, materially and positively supports the larger centres, or hubs. This is why the Isle of Man is a core asset to the City of London."
Mrs Craine highlighted the strength of the Isle of Man economy, and the growth and diversification of its economy. She also dispelled some popular myths about small International Finance Centres, and addressed the political attacks that have been levelled at small IFCs during the global financial crisis, arguing that small IFCs have an important role to play in encouraging tax transparency.
In her speech Mrs Craine also explained the challenges that small IFCs will face, commenting: "At a governmental level, a small IFC has to work as hard as it can to understand the environment in which it operates, how it is changing and position itself accordingly. It has to decide how the whole package that it offers to the international business community should be adapted and improved to make it more competitive, whilst also meeting ever evolving international regulatory standards."
Mrs Craine went on to explain that as emerging markets become more powerful, the Isle of Man will need to work even more closely with the UK Government, EU and OECD to have its voice heard and interests recognised. Mrs Craine also suggested that small IFCs will need to work together to have their views represented through international bodies such as the G20.
The Sir Thomas Gresham Docklands Lecture is in its seventh year, and is a public lecture organised by Gresham College, which was founded in 1597 to offer free public lectures in the City of London.
The lecture is available to watch in full on the Gresham College website at www.gresham.ac.uk
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