The Year in Financial Transparency: 2015

January 20th, 2016

We at the FTC are readying for the next phase of efforts to make the global financial system work for everyone. As part of that, we’re looking back at some of 2015’s most memorable moments.

By many accounts, 2015 will be remembered as the year of illicit financial flows. African Heads of State endorsed a report on illicit financial flows leaving the continent, European lawmakers adopted plans for registers to identify the real owners of companies in the European Union (EU), and illicit flows and tax became the topic of negotiations at the United Nations Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa. At the G20 Summit in November, world leaders signed off on new rules to cut down on tax evasion and avoidance developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

But now that illicit flows are in the global spotlight, there is work to do.

Illicit flows and tax were the issues that drove negotiations in Addis Ababa, but in the end world leaders couldn’t reach a consensus on a body that would make the setting of global standards equitable. The EU’s registers of company ownership will be monumental, but lawmakers stopped short of making the information fully accessible to the general public. The OECD’s focus on tax evasion and tax avoidance is welcome, but questions about the forum’s legitimacy to set rules for the rest of the world remain unanswered, and some of the solutions they propose promote business confidentiality over public scrutiny.

Illicit financial flows and the damage they cause are now on the map. But it’s up to citizens, working with allies in government, media, business, and elsewhere to ensure that the right solutions are put into place.

Written by Financial Transparency Coalition

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