Tuesday, July 31, 2012

About that $21-32 Trillion Hidden Offshore

TJN published a report [pdf] earlier this month showing that $21 to $32 trillion is likely hidden offshore.  The OECD scoffed at the number, suggesting that is somehow means that there are thousands of hidden billionaires running around that no one knows anything about:
[Pascal] Saint-Amans [head of the OECD's tax division] suggested the TJN estimates might be overstated. "I was wondering where the equivalent of 450 Bill Gates are hiding from everyone. It looks like the equivalent 20,000 unknown billionaires in the world or 200,000 people with net worth of 100 million," he said. 
Richard Murphy responded by breaking down the likely composition further:
1. [Tier One:] “Oligarch/ politburo/ dictator/ oil sheiks class: Top 100 in the world: 40% of their $4.2 trillion of total financial wealth offshore: average total financial wealth is $42 billion.
2. Tier two: “ordinary billionaires: ”  2900 in the world: 33% of their $4.33 trillion of  total financial wealth is offshore, with an average of $1.5 billion each.
3. Tier three: “ultra high net worth:”  117000 that keep 25% of their $6.8 trillion of total wealth offshore, with an average of $58.1 million each.
4. Tier Four: 9.86 mm  people that keep 20% of their $61.8 trillion of financial wealth offshore, with an average net financial wealth of $6.3 mm
[5.] Tier Five: 59.8 mm people that keep an average of 6% of their $63.4 trillion of financial wealth offshore, with an average net worth of $1.06 mm

Murphy adds " that this much wealth is offshore is not just plausible – it only requires us to make modest assumptions about the proportions of various known types of portfolio that actually exist to think that such level of offshore holding is likely."  He acknowledges in the comments that of course any attempted measure of that which is completely hidden can be nothing more than an estimate.  Of course, governments and banks around the world certainly have the info, and confirmation could be obtained if disclosure was compelled.  But the OECD has not taken the high road on this.  Instead it has supported the veneer of transparency over the systemic support of an international architecture of obscurity.  

1 comment:

  1. Great series on offshore monies, transparency, and shell games. Here's a graphic I just finished that relates: http://www.online-accounting-degrees.net/tax-havens/