The overriding theme of the last 12 months is that of continuing regulatory change in the private wealth arena. A sense of increasing pace and convergence in particular stand out in comparison with earlier years. The pace component is best seen in the introduction of new regimes or the updating of existing rules. The theme of convergence is based upon how centrally significant the concept of ‘beneficial ownership’ is becoming to many of the initiatives. A third strand is an increasing divergence between the European Union and the United States in this arena:
the European Union continues to force the pace on transparency, while the United States proceeds at a much more leisurely speed and gives greater weight to privacy concerns than its European neighbours.
Transfer pricing rules are, of course, a central plank in governments' fight against profit shifting, and the application and evolution of these rules will (rightly) continue to be high up the corporate tax agenda for many years to come.
The drive towards greater tax transparency has continued in 2017. The trend is driven by pressure on tax authorities to raise more revenue and increasing public disquiet about the well-publicised practices of some large multinationals and wealthy individuals, who apparently pay a disproportionately small sum in tax compared to the man in the street.
Executive remuneration encompasses a diverse range of practices and is consequently influenced by many different areas of the law, including tax, employment, securities and other aspects of corporate law.