High-profile data leaks and scandals such as the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers haven’t deterred high-net-worth (HNW) investors from putting their money offshore, a report from London, U.K.-based GlobalData says.
The proportion of HNW individuals who invest offshore has risen from 11.4% in 2014 to 16.9% in 2018, says the report, entitled HNW Offshore Investment: Drivers and Motivations 2018. The increase occurred despite the media attention generated by the scandals, and tax agencies around the world adopting measures to combat offshore evasion.
Heike van den Hoevel, senior wealth analyst at GlobalData, said in a release that while it would be normal to expect wealthy investors to repatriate some of their fortunes to avoid the taint of scandal, this hasn’t happened.
In fact, the report said clients are becoming more demanding about structuring their wealth in tax-efficient but legal ways. Realizing those efficiencies has become more difficult, as governments put more attention on tax avoidance. Wealth managers must be able to perform due diligence in providing cross-jurisdictional advice, the report said.
GlobalData provided different regional motivations for investing offshore. For Europeans, tax efficiencies were most commonly cited (24%) compared to diversification for North Americans (41%).
“Understanding the reasons why HNW investors book their wealth abroad is paramount to capitalize on the rising proportion of offshore wealth,” van den Hoevel said.