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Transparency’s Tipping Point: The 7th Financial Transparency Conference

Marina Conference Center, Helsinki, Finland

October 24 - 25, 2017

Conference

From the halls of the United Nations and G20 Summits to the streets of cities across the world, illicit financial flows are becoming a hotly debated topic. High profile leaks like the Panama Papers have drawn the public’s attention to the extreme secrecy available for the right price. When trillions of dollars flow through a shadow financial system beyond public scrutiny, citizens of rich and poor countries both lose. Northern governments under pressure to stop illicit financial flows have been outspoken in communiqués and press releases, but 3 of the top 5 secrecy jurisdictions still lie in Europe and the U.S. This, coupled with a number of recent backslides on financial transparency, makes a concerted push all the more timely.

At the 7th Financial Transparency Conference, we’ll bring together civil society, government officials, journalists and policy experts to discuss the problem of illicit financial flows, while brainstorming new ways to combat its effects on growth and development in our respective countries. By igniting debates with a variety of stakeholders, we’ll aim to move the discussion forward on issues like financing for development, the role of gatekeepers to the financial sector, bringing transparency to company ownership and public reporting for multinational corporations.

Agenda

As in past years, programming at the Financial Transparency Conference tends to be far ranging, and we expect other topics to feature, especially extractive industries transparency, tax incentives, and transfer pricing. Stay tuned for a detailed agenda and speaker list!

What exactly is an illicit financial flow? The role that data and politics play in defining illicit flows

The inclusion of a target in the SDGs on reducing illicit financial flows (target 16.4) has increased focus on conceptual definitions of illicit financial flows, particularly the inclusion of tax avoidance. Different country and regional interpretations of the term have made achieving political consensus at the global level challenging. Speakers will discuss the prospects for reaching a global consensus on definitions that allows progress to be made and measured.

Nationalism and cooperation: illicit financial flows in the age of Trump and Brexit

Experts argue that illicit financial flows are a global phenomenon that can’t be tackled at country level alone. At the same time, the emergence of nationalist policies in the UK, the US, and elsewhere presents a growing threat to global cooperation. What are the implications for multilateral action on illicit financial flows in an age of Trump and Brexit? Speakers will provide insights on what changes in the geopolitical landscape, and backsliding on transparency commitments, mean for tackling financial secrecy.

Building an inclusive narrative on illicit flows: seeing gender equality and human rights as integral to tackling illicit cash

Structural economic obstacles like lack of domestic revenue mobilization and the corrupt distribution of resources raised often disproportionately affects women citizens and prevents them from realizing their rights. What are the links between gender justice and illicit financial flows? Beyond gender, what are the opportunities and limitations with using the human rights lens in tackling illicit financial flows? Speakers will discuss the latest efforts to unite the gender justice, human rights, and illicit flows communities in a single narrative.

What’s the state of progress on beneficial ownership transparency globally?

With a number of countries committing to establishing public beneficial ownership registers, speakers will take stock of the status of implementation of these commitments. What were the politics behind the commitments? Are governments on track to meet their stated ambition, or do gaps persist? Is there a risk of modest gains being painted as victories? Speakers will take stock of the current state of play.

Who are the “gatekeepers” of the global financial system? The Role of Intermediaries in Preventing or Enabling Illicit Flows

The Panama Papers highlighted, among other issues, the role of lawyers, accountants, bankers and corporate service providers in aiding the movement of illicit money globally. Holding intermediaries accountable is crucial to curtailing illicit financial flows. Speakers will discuss what the current standards are for regulating professional bodies, the gaps, and policy recommendations.

Is transparency good for business? Perspectives from investors and small business owners

Investors have pushed for greater transparency so they can better manage risk and make sound investment decisions. Small businesses are increasingly demanding transparency to level the playing field for them to compete with large multinationals, increasing competitiveness and stability. Private sector actors share perspectives on why transparency is important to them.

Who makes the rules on illicit financial flows?

Illicit Financial Flows increasingly flow from South to North: developing countries are disproportionately affected by capital flight, and secrecy jurisdictions in the EU and the US have carved out a niche market in the management of this illicit cash. But when developing country governments are consulted on illicit flows at international fora in the OECD and the G20, it is often as compliance after the rules have been written by their Northern counterparts. Speakers will discuss the prospects for recent reforms for tackling the global phenomenon, and an alternative UN tax commission proposed by G77 governments.

Logistics

The conference will take place October 24-25, 2017 at the Marina Congress Center, located at Katajanokanlaituri 6, 00160 Helsinki, Finland.

Accommodation

The FTC has reserved a limited block of hotel rooms at a special conference rate at the Scandic Grand Marina Hotel, which serves the Marina Congress Center. The Hotel is conveniently located across the street from the conference venue. Reservations should be made before October 8th through Scandic’s official website using the booking code BFTC221017. Please note that a credit card will be required to complete the booking.

Conference participants are also welcome to seek alternative accommodation at their own discretion. There is a variety of hotels options in Helsinki.

Getting to the Conference

Airport:  The Helsinki-Vantaa Airport serves the greater Helsinki metropolitan region. The conference venue and hotel are located within approximately a 35 minute drive from this airport.

Airport Transportation: There are several transportation options from the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. We recommend that participants take the train or bus to travel from the airport to Helsinki city center (known as Elielinaukio).

HSL operates public transportation in the Helsinki region, making the HSL ticket more convenient for travelers to transfer between different transportation options, such as from the train to a bus or tram. The cost of a ticket is five euros, and it is valid for 80 minutes after purchase on all the HSL transportation.

  • Train: Local trains I and P operate between Helsinki Airport and Elielinaukio on the Ring Rail Line. The journey time between the airport and the Central Railway Station is approximately 30 minutes. Tickets must be purchased before boarding the train.
  • Bus: The Finnair City Bus operates between the airport and Elielinaukio every 20 minutes. The Finnair City Bus is not operated by HSL. Tickets for the Finnair City Bus cost six euros and are not valid for any other transportation. Travel time is approximately 30 minutes. Additionally, Bus 615 operates between the airport and the Central Railway Station, and Bus 415 operates between the airport and Elielinaukio. The travel time is approximately 40-50 minutes and they are operated by the HSL. Tickets for the HSL buses are 5 euros if purchased from a machine, and they may also be purchased from the bus driver for 5,50 euros.
  • Taxi: Taxis to the city center are also available from the airport. It should cost around 50 euros to get to the hotel from the airport by taxi.
  • Tram: Once in Helsinki city center travelers may choose to take a tram to the hotel and venue. Tram number 4 runs near the Marina Congress Center.

Additional information on transportation options, including getting from the city center to the venue and hotel is available on the Marina Congress Center website.   

Visas

Finland is a member of the Schengen Area.

Information on visa requirements and travel documents accepted by Finland are available here. Please contact the nearest Finnish consulate or embassy for detailed information on visa requirements.

We are able to provide invitation letters upon request. Please send an email to conference@financialtransparency.org with “Visa Invitation Letter Request” as the email subject.

Conference Fees and Costs

There is no fee associated with the conference. Complimentary lunch and coffee/tea will be served during the two days.

Unfortunately, the FTC is unable to provide funding for travel, accommodation, or per diems for the conference at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

What to do in Helsinki

If you arrive early or decide to extend your stay, there are many exciting things to do in the area. To learn more about local tourism please click here.

Questions

Please send any questions via email to the conference team at conference@financialtransparency.org.

Press Inquiries

For press inquiries please contact:

Christian Freyemyer
Press & Digital Media Officer
Financial Transparency Coalition
cfreymeyer@financialtransparency.org

Anna-Stiina Lundqvist
Communications Officer
Kepa
+358 50 317 6704, anna-stiina.lundqvist@kepa.fi

Who makes the rules on illicit financial flows? Find out in our policy brief: https://t.co/Wdv9LvkTKl https://t.co/nODLmmgil2
- Saturday Jul 22 - 9:27am

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