Thursday, February 18, 2010

The 'perfect storm' is looming for the Isle of Man

As a tiny island the IoM is being tossed like a small rudderless ship in international political & financial stormy waters. As such it has little control on the direction of its future destiny. It will be blown hither & thither as its crew seek to keep it afloat in the face of huge waves breaking over its deck.

Allen Bell, Treasury Minister, has just introduced a 'reactive' budget that reflects the present state of the storm & what he considers necessary to keep the ship afloat. At the same time he acknowledges that "THE WORLD HAS CHANGED". He expresses the blind hope that whatever is thrown at the IoM in the future it will always land on its feet.

However,the ship is seriously holed below the waterline. This is summed up well by Tax Research UK HERE .

The reality is that presently the backbone of the IoM economy is its financial services industry. The figures published today by the IoM Financial Supervision Commission [HERE] show a further decline in deposits & investments. Sterling bank deposits are down by nearly 3 billion, & funds under management are down by 3.3 billion.

Allen Bell attributes this to low interest rates in the international banking arena (notwithstanding the IoM banks offer attractive & competitive interest rates), but this is not the whole picture. He dare not publicly acknowledge the impact of the campaign 'DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN' which warns British expats & others HERE of the risks involved in putting their life savings in this offshore jurisdiction. Over 11,000,000 have Googled don't/dont bank on the isle of man, a topic wich now extends to 3 pages on Google.

The reality is the Isle of Man is no longer viewed by millions of potential depositors as an offshore centre on which they would want to trust their savings.

It is only a matter of time now that the financial services industry will cease to be viable on the Isle of Man. The 'perfect storm' is looming to overwhelm this small island ship.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

11,380,000 people have 'Googled' DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN

11,380,000 people have now specifically 'googled' DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN (or have typed 'dont' instead of 'don't'). This is a phenomenal increase of over 2,500,000 since 30th.November.

On the basis of these figures it would be fair to predict that the Financial Supervision Commission's statistics for this Quarter will show a further significant decline in the trust that people throughout the world now place in the Isle of Man as a safe offshore centre in which to risk their life savings.

One man who is doing cautious prospective depositors a great service is Richard Murphy who has researched in depth the unsavoury facts about the way the IoM financial services industry operates. This is evidence that very few ordinary Manx citizens are aware, facts that the government would rather they didn't. Sadly of the few who do some would rather shoot the messenger than accept the message.

As a secrecy jurisdiction the island has thrived for many years on how its banks & finance houses have done business. All credit to the IoMtoday journal for publishing Richard's critique HERE

The cat is now out of the bag and the people of the Isle of Man will need to face up to the reality of how the Isle of Man has prospered hitherto. Quite how it will get its house in order remains to be seen. To date that "new mindset" that the Chief Minister says will need to be adopted has not materialised. Instead the 'blame game' is emerging as the order of the day. In this game the government will continue to 'blame' the UK government for all its woes.

Playing the 'blame game' and turning Manx folk against the UK is not going to get the IoM anywhere. It is a smokescreen to put off for as long as possible the adoption of that new mindset through which the IoM becomes truly open, transparent, ethical & honest in the manner in which it operates as an offshore financial centre. Only then will sensible people seriously consider depositing their life savings on the Isle of Man.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Allen Bell does not ring true

Allen Bell (Finance Minister) says that the IOM is a 'safe place' to invest.  He would wouldn't he?   But he does not spell out the basis of his assertion because there isn't any.

In fact John Aspden (chief of the FSC) has told him & the world at large that neither investments nor deposits are 'risk free' on the IoM.

If Allen Bell is right & John Aspden is wrong then he needs to spell out precisely how money put into the IOM is now suddenly 'safe'.

The reality is Allen Bell is engaged on a sales pitch to put the IOM in a good light in the face of the disasterous situation that faces its economy.

Kaupthing depositors were told their money was 100% guaranteed but that turned out not to be true. Now there is a website DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN that tells expats and others the reasons for not depositing on the IOM.

Depositors & investors are not stupid & are not going to be hoodwinked by propaganda that is clearly aimed at the best interests of the IOM and not at those whose money is so eagerly sought with that objective in mind.

There needs to be a massive injection of ethics, morality, integrity and justice in a new IOM 'mind set' if people are to trust this offshore financial centre. Until then don't gamble; play safe - DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN as it could seriously ruin your wealth.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Over 8,800,000 people have Googled DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN

The Isle of Man considers investment relatively more important than deposits as they are the butter on the bread of the island's economy.

Funds under management on the Isle of Man have fallen from a high of £57.7billion in June 2008 to £34.4 billion end September 2009. That's a massive £23.3billion, a decline of 40.4%. Yet to date the Financial Services Commission choses to make no comment on this decline as to do so would draw critical attention to it.

In the face of the huge holes that are appearing in its financial resources - including a 24% loss of budget revenue as a consequence of HM Treasury's review of the VAT subsidy enjoyed by the IoM - the island's much vaunted AAA Credit Rating is now on notice for being downgraded. The loss of this 9 year old 'sacred cow' will have a major impact on the way the IoM as an offshore financial centre is viewed throughout the world.

Altogether the Isle of Man's economy is now in a precarious position, hence the government is spending £300,000 of taxpayers' money employing PR agencies to promote the Isle of Man as an attractive & desirable place where there is 'freedom to flourish'.

After the financial tsunami of 2008 prospective depositors & investors are now far more on their guard about trusting glossy sales pitches. People are now ultra cautious about where & with whom they put their money. They are doing their own 'due dilligence' looking more closely at the small print and the reality behind the efforts of banks and offshore financial centres to promote a positive image about themselves.

Dispossessed Kaupthing bank depositors are now highlighting the reasons why expats & others should not risk banking on the Isle of Man. This has been dismissed by the IoM as being of no consequence, but the reality is 3,170,000 people have specifically Googled DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN and 4,880,000 have Googled DONT BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN, with an additional 800,000 having Googled DONT BANK ON THE IOM. These are figures that are increasing as the message is being relayed via Twitter, Facebook, blogs and the DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN website

The wholly justified campaign by & on behalf of dispossessed depositors is not going to go away until the government accepts that there is a real need for it to seek a political solution to restore all lost deposits 100% in order to promote the best interests of the IoM as a safe & trustworthy place in which to deposit & invest.

Monday, November 23, 2009

IoM bank deposits DOWN for 3rd.Quarter

The latest figures published by the IoM Financial Supervision Commission show a further decline of £390,000,000 in bank deposits over the previous Quarter. This is a total decline of £3.38billion since April 2009. In the context of the IoM's other troubles it is not surprising that the FSC Board delayed publishing these depressing figures.

No doubt the government will make light of the statistics, attributing them to anything other than the Kaupthing Depositors' Action Group campaign DON'T BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN. Well they would wouldn't they?

Dispossessed depositors feel that they have a moral obligation to warn expats and others throughout the world of the risks involved in depositing on the Isle of Man. To this end a new website has been launched which sets out out some of the reasons why putting your life savings in the trust of the Isle of Man could seriously damage your wealth.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday 13th - not the luckiest of days for the Kaupthing directors ?

It was Friday 13th when the Tynwald Select Committee - inquiring into the collapse of the Kaupthing IoM bank - questioned the bank's directors.
In front of them was Aidan Doherty, Managing Director, Donald Gelling CBE, who was twice Chief Minister of the IoM government, John Cashen ex Chief Finance Officer at the IoM Treasury, and Andrew Davies, financial director.

10,000 expats & others throughout the world thought people of such high standing who were heading up the bank could be entrusted with their life savings. These directors had used their status to promote the integrity of KSFIoM as a bank that would take care of savings entrusted to its care.

Alas! once the bank had gone bust the best they could do was to say, 13 months after the event, that they had done nothing wrong and that the blame for the collapse of the bank was that of the UK Financial Services Authority that they claimed was sheltering behind a "cloud of secrecy".

HOGWASH! This is the sort of superficial nonsense that brings contempt for bank managers from the public & generates huge distrust in the banking system. It is this very act of directors claiming that they were right to put £557million of the bank' liquid assets into Kaupthing UK that is helping to sink further the trustworthiness of the Isle of Man as a safe place to deposit one’s life savings.

Aidan Doherty said in the bank’s glossy blurb back in 2007 “No one knows what the future will bring but we can stand by you when it comes.” He didn't. Not only did he not do so, but he never did the honourable thing at the time or since by offering an apology for the decision to put £557million of depositors' money into a failing sister bank that promptly went into receivership.

Had he & his colleagues been told by their lawyers to keep their mouths firmly shut? Had they been instructed to cover their rears by finding words of explanation that would put the entire blame elsewhere? Was this the amoral ploy of old that even when you know you are to blame always plead innocent & let the innocent party have the task of proving otherwise?

John Aspden, Chief Executive of the FSC, has already been weighed & found wanting in the eyes of the dispossessed depositors. Now the directors join him in the gallery of those who have sought to save their own skins in the pathetically thin defence of their actions which in the view of depositors was a failure to exercise due dilligence with their hard-earned savings.

What is beyond dispute is the innocent people in the Kaupthing fiasco are the disposssessed depositors. The evidence of the Depositors' Action Group submitted to the Select Committee clearly shows up the true facts behind the actions & decisions of the FSC & the bank's directors. It may be downloaded from the DAG Company's website HERE

Depositors are trusting this Tynwald Select Committee to demonstrate the highest standard of objective scrutiny of the facts in order that truth & justice will prevail. The credibility & integrity of this British Crown dependency will stand or fall on the outcome of this inquiry into the biggest banking failure in the history of this offshore financial centre.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Depositing savings on the Isle of Man is too risky

In a news article in the online 'be your own financial adviser'
Gordon Brown, UK PM said: "..we need to make sure that customers can be confident when they open a bank account that they will be treated fairly; that charges and fees are clear, easy to understand and reasonable; and that their savings are safe."

That is something with which John Aspden, Chief of the IoM Financial Supervision Commission, does not concur. He states that deposits, like investments, on the island carry risk and this has to be recognised by people when depositing their life savings with a bank on the IoM.

Despite this people from around the world still take that risk believing that the reward of a higher interest rate justifies a belief in what the banks tell them concerning the security of their money. That is a dangerous way to make a judgement on whether your money is safe.

Banks only tell prospective depositors what they want them to know; they do not answer the questions depositors ask in order that they may make an informed judgement before parting with their money.

Until the Isle of Man is able to endorse and adopt the principles stated by the British Prime Minister the island can not be considered a safe place to put your money. The message is clear; DONT BANK ON THE ISLE OF MAN as it could seriously damage your wealth.