A paltry 110 people out of a population of just over million in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were found with HSBC bank accounts according to the information leaked by HSBC’s whistle-blower, Hervé Falciani.
Moreover, the amount allegedly stashed in HSBC’s Private Bank is just under US2billion . A potentially statistically irrelevant amount compared to the estimated hundreds of millions held by HSBC from 106,000 clients in 203 countries.
This suggests that residents in the CARICOM do not have a culture of stashing money abroad (and likely not the funds to do so). Moreover even in the case of CARICOM states with established International Business and Financial Services Centre,s these countries are clearly not in the ‘triangle trade’ which includes heir foreign clients and banks in Switzerland, like HSBC.
In theory, this should provide some basis for a proportionate approach to the international compliance and transparency agenda.Of course the fear for those countries who have gained the most from private banking and secrecy would see their clients migrate to jurisdictions without similar disciplines in place; as has already been the case with the US.
Of course , when you lump the CARICOM with South American countries like Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia and Guatemala; and the British Overseas Territories like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, quite a different story of illicit financial flows emerges.
It is precisely this distorted picture which threatens the economic survival of a region which is most certainly on the fringes of the problem but are poised to bear the brunt of the solution.