On Monday, the story hit the Internet: over 15million records including emails, documents, and databases were stolen from the internal servers of Panamian law firm Mossack Fonseca and blasted over the world. Media has since has a field day with revelations linking Putin to $2billion, top European officials to several tax haven deals, African families with stowaway wealth etc etc. The information is sensationalized because it deserves to be. It’s an entertaining side of finance that most people never get a peek into.
However, one thing you have to understand is that this matters fuck all in the grand scheme. In a globalized world, the rich or at least their money, no longer belong to any specific country. We’ve all known this. Come after someone’s money in Manhattan and he packed up and moves it to the South of France. Money is digital so it goes where he wants it. So the business of offshore wealth management for high net worth individuals and corporations will simply carrying on like it used to. No one who knows anything about anything, other than journos and politicians, is remotely moved by this. I mean, Putin handed the Russian economy to a bunch of oligarchs with some Mafia connects, I’d be more surprised if he didn’t have a couple billions stashed away.
Besides, which of these big banks is going to give up the business so their competition can make out like a bandit. None. HSBC is already a synonym for money laundering and every bank wants to be them.
Here’s a list of the top ten banks that requested offshoring services the most for their clientele. HSBC shows up twice, naturally.
The bottom line is that once all this noise dies down, business will go back to normal. For most HNW people and companies offshoring is a good way to earn better returns and get lower taxes. You invest money wherever the returns are, and these days that means everywhere but at home. Of course some are still doing it for anonymity but it’s no longer the primary consideration these days.
That said, I heard our Senate President, Young Saraki, has a bunch of assets uncovered by this leak. Will it matter in his court case? I don’t know but I’m eager to find out.
That said, Just don’t hold your breath waiting for Assange level or wiki leaks level of controversy from this. Nope. It ain’t happening.