Transparency First

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Pieces authored by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) director Raymond Baker and GFI director of government affairs Heather Lowe appear in the latest issue of the American Interest.  The July/August edition of the bimonthly publication hits newsstands this week and may be viewed online at

GFI manages the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development of which Tax Research LLP is a member.

In his piece, "Transparency First," Mr. Baker discusses the on-going process of reform to the global financial system, including regulatory reform for banks and other financial institutions.

The range of current ideas for correcting flaws in the national and global financial system is extensive," writes Baker.  In lieu of "incremental changes that will leave holes big enough for the global economy to fall through again," Baker explains how "transparency based reform accomplishes far more, far faster than regulation and oversight," and could be the best insurance against another global financial meltdown.

Mr. Baker outlines a plan for legislating transparency noting that "an attack on secrecy is not at the same time an attack on privacy…Transparency does not diminish financial security, it adds to it."

Ms. Lowe's article, "Law as Leverage," looks at domestic reform efforts around the problem of corporate opacity and secrecy jurisdictions.  "Despite the renewed focus on the link between financial transparency and economic stability, opacity is still spreading," Ms. Lowe writes.

Ms. Lowe examines the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, the Energy Security Through Transparency Act, and the recently-passed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

"The legislation described here that is now pending in Congress represents an important start to solving several problems…Yet the attentive American public, which has been deluged with information about how to rein in Wall Street's excesses, knows practically nothing of these measures, and the lack of knowledge could be a problem."

Mr. Baker and Ms. Lowe are frequent contributors to various international, financial, and legal publications including recent pieces published in the The New York Review of Books and the American Bar Association International Anticorruption Committee newsletter.

Mr. Baker is the author of Capitalism's Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System.  He has for many years been an internationally respected authority on corruption, money laundering, growth, and foreign policy issues, particularly as they concern developing and transitional economies and impact upon western economic and foreign interests.

Ms. Lowe draws upon extensive international legislative experience in banking and finance law to produce pieces on everything from U.S. domestic financial reform to international tax information exchange treaties.

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