24 Jun 2009

New body planned in the Cook Islands to foster development of offshore finance sector

4:02 pm on 24 June 2009

The Trustees Companies Association in the Cook Islands says setting up a financial services development authority will spark growth and make the sector more competitive offshore.

Parliament will shortly discuss the Financial Services Development Authority Bill which will set up a statutory body responsible for marketing the Cook Islands as an offshore financial services destination.

The sector was once black listed over money laundering concerns but the Cook Islands Government brought in legislation which satisfied the international watchdog groups.

The President of the Trustees Companies Association Brian Mason says it would expect the new body to promote the country's services but also engage in tax information exchange agreements to allow other countries to collect tax owed by its citizens.

"Unfortunately in the Cook Islands there's no body dedicated to getting those sorts of things in place. So we anticipate one of the early jobs of the authority will be not so much to get out and market but to assist in improving regulatory standards of the Cook Islands particularly in the tax information sharing area."

Brian Mason from theTrustees Companies Association.