What is an IFC?

International financial centres (IFCs) are jurisdictions that facilitate the international flow of capital.

What are the defining characteristics of IFCs?

IFCs’ success relies on having the following characteristics:

Specialised legal institutions – IFCs have high-quality, specialised legal institutions that mean investors trust the fairness of arbitration and the rule of law. The Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have British-based legal systems, with legislation written with commercial, rather than retail, transactions in mind.

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High levels of regulatory compliance – IFCs trade on their legal institutions and respect for the rule of law. As a result, stringent compliance with international regulatory standards is a hallmark of most leading IFCs, as shown by independent assessments, including by the OECD, FATF, the World Bank, and academics.

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Tax neutrality – Jurisdictional tax neutrality means income is taxed in the investor country of residence and in the source country of the investment, but is not subject it to a third level of taxation where it is pooled. This makes IFCs ideal for pooling investment across countries: increasing financial returns.

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Leading legal and professional services – The availability of high-quality legal counsel and professional services is essential to IFCs. This has given rise to a large number of world-class firms that operate across multiple jurisdictions

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What countries are IFCs?

Most IFCs are small, although the United Kingdom and the Netherlands prove they aren’t necessarily.  However, small territories are more likely to be open, tax-neutral, and geared towards commercial rather than retail customers.  As a result, many IFCs are British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies: a situation that offers benefits to the IFC and the United Kingdom.

Our member firms are headquartered in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, and Jersey.  However, they have offices in a number of other international financial centres, and we are open to membership from firms based in any IFC that shares our ethos.