According to the TMF Group Financial Complexity Index 2018 (pdf), published on 4 April 2018, Luxembourg is ranked in 27th place in terms of complexity, with China coming out on top as most complex and the Cayman Islands least.
In EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), Jersey is revealed at the easiest jurisdiction in terms of financial complexity.
The TMF Group Financial Complexity Index looks at countries in terms of the complexity of financial compliance, in other words how easy it is for companies to, “…deal with taxes, adhere to reporting requirements, maintain company accounts, and deal with cross-border transactions.”
It should be noted that it is always important to exercise caution when looking at the results of reports such as this. Indexes that provide rankings, but little background information or context risk giving a distorted image of a country. Delano hopes to bring its readers further background to the Financial Complexity Index in the near future. In the meantime, however, some of the highlights of the index are as follows:
Europe top 10
Talking of Europe specifically, the index places France, Italy and Russia in the top 10 most complex, stating that, “Europe is a less simple place to do business than some might imagine.”
It notes that France’s increase in complexity comes just as a new government, led by Emmanuel Macron, begins a business-friendly simplification process and adds that although Germany ranks just outside the top 20 most complex jurisdictions, it nonetheless ranks alongside South Africa, as being most complex globally for compliance.
According to the index, there have been some key changes since the first edition in 2017.
“This second Index is dominated by the impact of the global move towards transparency and conformity. Many countries are working out their reaction to the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project, meaning transparency in ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) and transfer pricing are the subject of regulation impacting on business operations”
In addition, “The Common Reporting Standard (CRS)--designed to allow automatic exchange of information between jurisdictions by financial institutions--has also begun to make an impact. We see many countries passing reforms to simplify their economies not only to attract investment, but to ensure the country ticks the compliance box for these global movements.”