The Financial Secrecy Index – published on Sunday

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As readers of this site know, I have directed a project for the Tax Justice Network called Mapping the Faultlines. The output of this project, funded by the Ford Foundation, has now been published, in part on the web site.

That site, published a few weeks ago, set out a methodology for selecting 60 secrecy jurisdictions to study, redefined the language of offshore, and delivered a ranking of each of the 60p locations surveyed showing in both detail and summary just what facilities they offered and how we ranked them. The work is not yet complete yet — there are a number of significant papers still to be added to the site, but an important spin off will be published on Sunday.

This is the Financial Secrecy Index — to be made available on the web site of the same name, here.

As that site notes:

Secrecy is a central feature of the global financial system. Jurisdictions compete with each other to provide it, in order to attract financial flows — with appalling effects elsewhere. It is essential to identify the worst culprits in providing this secrecy. But nobody has ever tried to do this in a systematic, objective way — until now.

The Financial Secrecy Index (FSI) creates a ranking which identifies the jurisdictions that are most aggressive in providing secrecy in international finance, and which most actively shun co-operation with other jurisdictions. It attaches a weighting to each jurisdiction, according to the scale of cross-border financial services activity that it hosts.

The two measures — the opacity score, and the weighting, are combined to create the Financial Secrecy Index. Nothing like this has been done before.

The site is a joint effort between the Mapping the Faultlines team and Christian Aid, directed on this occasion  by John Christensen. Econometrics was largely by Alex Cobham of Christian Aid.

The result is out on Sunday, and for those who like to criticise our research there may be some surprises in store…..

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