Personal Finance

Defining Your 'Fair Share' of Taxes

The tax dealings of a number of politicians have come under scrutiny, following news of their offshore holdings in the Panama Papers. The leaks have led to the resignation of the Icelandic prime minister – and the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been criticised for shares he used to have in an offshore fund set up by his late father.

Are Some EU Banks 'Too Big to Save'?

Early in the financial crisis, the US forced all large banks to take an infusion of capital.  This helped put a floor under the US financial system.  Regulators and stakeholders encouraged US banks to address the significant nonperforming loan problem. 

What Have We Learned from the Panama Papers So Far?

The Panama Papers is a treasure trove of information on the activities and clientele of a large, but not a typical law firm operating in an offshore financial centre. In this case, it is a firm called Mossack Fonseca, based in Panama. It follows a series of spectacular leaks by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including the HSBC files and the Luxembourg leaks. Here are six things that stand out from the latest revelations.

1. Same old techniques

Aussie PM Turnbull Takes a Swipe at a Bank Luncheon

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has given Australia’s banks a bollocking for unethical behaviour, suggesting they have not repaid the support they received during the global financial crisis.

Speaking at Westpac’s 199th birthday lunch - a day after the Australian Securities and Investment Commission launched legal action against the bank for allegedly manipulating the bank bill swap rate (BBSW) - Turnbull said many Australians were asking whether banks had lived up “to the standards we expect”.

Sun, Surf, Skiing, and No Taxes

The Panama Papers leak sheds some light on the intricate ways in which the wealthy can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. As well as charging minimal or no tax to residents and non-residents, the main characteristics of tax havens are their lack of transparency and effective information exchange.

As the leaked files of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca show, these havens are used by individuals and companies to stash their cash away from the prying eyes of civilians or investigators. This is not necessarily because their money has been obtained illegally.

Taxing Africa's Wealthy is not an Easy Propostion

A great deal of attention has been paid to the obstacles African governments face in effectively taxing the profits of transnational corporations. African governments are frequently urged to widen their tax bases by reducing tax incentives for foreign investors. But what about Africa’s rich? Some Africans are very rich, and in many cases, they are not paying their fair share of taxes.

High Anxiety: Financial Security is Slipping Away

The American Dream that has existed in this country for over 50 years is on life support. For some Americans, it may already be dead.  While recent consumer confidence surveys indicate that Americans seem somewhat optimistic about the overall economy, most polls and studies show that we are anxious about our own economic futures.

Barclays Pulls the Ripcord in Africa

Barclays has announced it is to withdraw from Africa. It will gradually reduce its 62% stake in Barclays Africa Group over the next two to three years – and, naturally, this raises questions about the prospects for banking in Africa, where Barclays has had a presence since 1925.