**Richard J. Hay
Stikeman Elliott**

***Financial Services considered one of the most profitable sectors of the global economy***

Richard Hay, Tax Partner and Head of the Private Capital Group in the London office of international law firm Stikeman Elliott, has released a commentary on the Global Forum’s Report on ***Tax Cooperation: Towards a Level Playing Field.***

The Report, released last month, is described as a definitive comparison of the disclosure standards applied in 82 countries.

Mr. Hay says the controversy over comparative standards is not an arid debate over regulatory policy; big money is at stake. Financial services generate two trillion U.S. dollars in annual revenue. This is forecast to triple by 2020 and to account for 10 percent of global GDP. International financial services are highly mobile, and consumers readily shift jurisdictions to pursue regulatory arbitrage opportunities. The new Report, Mr. Hay says, will accordingly shape the odds for jurisdictional success or failure in one of the most profitable sectors of the global economy.

His paper considers the controversial background for the OECD programme on international tax information exchange and reviews the key findings in the new Report. Issues covered include non-member commitments to the OECD Harmful Taxation Project, The EU Savings Tax Directive, cooperation for mutual benefit and anti-avoidance rules. Mr. Hay also expounds on what he considers “issues that continue to rankle” in the level playing field process.