The latest developments in relation to the EU SAVINGS DIRECTIVE may have torpedoed the OECD’s programme for tax information exchange. So say Barry McCutcheon & Patrick C. Soares, organisers of the TransContinental Trusts Conference being held in London June 2-3 as part of the IBC Global Conferences 2003 conference series.

The stance of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria and Belgium on the EU Savings Directive means that the level playing field the Offshore Financial Centres were led to believe would be forthcoming has not materialised. Reportedly, as a result of this, some Offshore Financial Centres are seriously considering “pulling the plug” on the commitments they previously gave.

And, according to Messrs. McCutcheon and Soares, that is not all. Italy’s last minute milk quota “spanner in the works” may mean that the EU Savings Directive does not go through at all.

What do these developments mean for offshore financial centres? In particular, should OFCs play hardball now, or does this present them with an unanticipated opportunity for constructive engagement, which they should seize?

Organisers of the 17th Annual Transcontinental Trusts Conference say that events are moving fast, and OFCs need to move with them. They promise up-to-the-minute analysis and thoughtful discussion on the best way forward for the OFCs, and international fiduciaries generally.

This year’s Conference focuses on the theme “Transparency – Shaping a Sensible Way Forward”. Speakers include veteran industry heavyweights Richard Hay, Peter Larder, Anthony Duckworth, Tim Bennett, Francis Hoogewerf and Edward Troup together with Government Regulators from the British West Indies, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The Conference will also examine, in depth, a variety of other topics of vital interest to international fiduciaries and their advisers, with speakers including Professor David Hayton, David Brownbill and international trust litigation teams from Withers and Allen & Overy.

The Bahamas Financial Services Board is hosting a luncheon during the conference, and also will showcase a “Bahamas” Booth. A BFSB team participating in a European Briefing Visit, May 24 to June 6, also will be on hand for the conference.