Business & Finance
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Monaco is pushing ahead with plans to incorporate sustainable finance into the banking and financial institutions of the Principality and will also create a global conference to support its efforts.
Monaco Sustainable Finance is an ambitious initiative created in March 2021 based around three primary objectives: protection of the planet, development of new practices and championing innovation by investing in new technologies.
The third session of the Monaco Sustainable Finance joint working group met on Friday 1st October at the Ministry of State. Minister of Finance and the Economy Jean Castellini chaired the meeting that was held with several representatives of the Monegasque Association for Financial Activities and the Commission for the Control of Financial Activities.
The meeting’s goals were to present the first findings of the ‘ESG – SRI’ questionnaire that several banks and portfolio managers in the Principality responded to over the summer. ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance, the criteria to assess the inclusion of sustainable development and long-term issues in companies’ strategy, and SRI stands for Socially Responsible Investment.
“In a globalised economy, the success of both corporate and investment strategies is increasingly dependent on ESG or SRI selection criteria,” said the government when it first created the group. “Incorporating these factors as part of analysis, financial investment and risk management is likely to improve yields, but also to reduce risks, especially systemic risks.”
The meeting found there were “encouraging results” from the questionnaire and agreed they would move forward in 2022 with several plans.
First, they will create a dedicated ESG correspondent within institutions to keep everyone abreast of current policies and plans. They will also extend sustainable finance training to all employees, not limiting it to management. Additionally, they will define the terms of reporting for clients with local institutions, with the hope of a streamlined system that makes it easy for all. Finally, they are looking to organise an international conference in Monaco based around the theme of sustainable finance in order to get input and share ideas with other countries on their handling of this important issue.
The government on Thursday announced that it will be suspending the temporary unemployment scheme (CTTR) from 31st December this year.
Monaco’s presence in Spain this month is undeniable, with two events focusing on issues close to the heart of the Principality: tourism and the environment.
The President of the French Financial Markets Authority has told a luncheon debate in Monaco that crypto currencies and other digital assets should be regulated at the national level.
Monaco has seen a 60% growth in its tech sector over the past decade, it was revealed at a recent MEB event where the Principality’s employment opportunities were laid out.
UK-based accountants and advisers will face tough new rules if the Treasury presses ahead with a tightening of regulations. Professionals who help people bend the rules to gain a tax advantage that Parliament never intended face tougher fines under new penalties proposed by the UK Treasury. A fine of up to 100% of the tax that was avoided – including via offshore havens – has been suggested in the new rules, which have been published for consultation, the UK press reports.
Currently those who advise on tax face little risk, while their clients face penalties only if they lose in court. The rules would “root out” tax avoidance at source, the Treasury said. The rules in the consultation document also make it simpler to enforce penalties when avoidance schemes are defeated.
“These tough new sanctions will make would-be enablers think twice and in turn reduce the number of schemes on the market,” said the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison.
Until now HM Revenue and Customs has concentrated on tackling the individuals who don’t pay their tax, while advisers and promoters of tax avoiding schemes have remained shadowy figures in the background.
The intention is that will stop once there is a penalty for the professionals involved of up to 100% of the amount avoided in a scheme.
The government isn’t targeting legitimate ways of cutting tax bills, such as tax breaks for putting money in pensions or Individual Savings Accounts.
The avoidance it’s trying to root out involves bending the rules to gain a tax advantage that Parliament never intended, an alleged abuse which costs nearly £3 billion a year. Accountants see the move as a significant change, which could result in them paying fines even if the advice they give isn’t illegal.
Following the Panama Papers scandal, the five largest economies in the European Union, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, agreed to share information on secret owners of businesses and trusts. The Treasury said the move would make it harder for businesses and wealthy individuals to operate without paying correct taxes.
Speaking in July, new Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to crack down on tax avoidance, saying “tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society”.
She said at the time, “It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re Amazon, Google or Starbucks, you have a duty to put something back, you have a debt to fellow citizens and you have a responsibility to pay your taxes.”
However, earlier this month the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax accused the government of undermining efforts to end tax secrecy and said it should force multinational companies such as Google to publish information on their activities in every country where they operate.