Manx cool on new UK rules

The Isle of Man has under-lined its freedom from financial regulation by the UK government with the publication of a blueprint of its future regulatory plans.

Manx ministers agreed to introduce some of the measures recommended in last year’s Edwards report – the Home Office review of financial regulation in the UK’s crown dependencies – but rejected others.

A point-by-point response to the Edwards report was described by the island’s council of ministers as a positive reaction ‘without being a slavish adoption of all Edwards had suggested’.

The island has defended itself against concerns that its regulators are supervised by politicians. It has, however, agreed to introduce an ombudsman to consider disputes between customers and financial institutions.

The island also reaffirmed its commitment to the introduction of legislation to regulate corporate service providers, and detailed a number of other measures designed to tighten up regulation. Among these is the proposed establishment of a financial crime unit within the police force.

Chief minister Donald Gelling said: ‘We had no concerns that Edwards would find any serious problem with the way we regulate our financial services industry and his findings have been a huge boost to the island’s reputation. We have never been complacent, however, and we have shown we are prepared to listen to constructive suggestions for improvement.’

The Edwards report was criticised by some politicians for only scratching the surface of tax evasion and money-laundering, which many have associated with the UK’s offshore jurisdictions.

There has been less criticism of regulation in recent months, however. Instead, the regimes are being increasingly castigated for their low-tax environments – the result of the tax harmonisation concept taking hold.

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