By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.


I agree with Lucien Thiel... to a certain extent

The advantage of being a critic is to be able to support or congratulate without being suspected of kindness.
Lucien Thiel, the former chairman of the Luxembourg Bankers' Association that stated a doctrine that I have contested (it is not our duty to control of the taxpayer was honest) and member of the LIGFI, yesterday raised a critical point in the fight against tax evasion :

"Au niveau européen, il existe une pression pour un abandon total du secret bancaire. Or, si des mesures plus strictes sont adoptées seulement en Europe, nous serions défavorisés face à d'autres centres financiers comme Singapour" (free translation : At the European level, there exists a pressure for to give up banking secrecy. However, should stricter rules be adopted only in Europe, we would be disadvantaged vis-a-vis other financial centers like Singapore”

He is right but I wish he had more European team spirit. When he states "nous serions défavorisés" (we would be disadvantaged ) "we" is for Luxembourg, not for European States.

However it is true that every jurisdiction and every parameter (banking secrecy, offshore abuses, corruption, money laundering...) should be taken into account to avoid communicating vases.



06:56 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)


The power of paper

OECD today stated that Luxembourg moves into the category of “Jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard.”.

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “I commend Luxembourg for its swift implementation of the OECD standards on exchange of information. In three months, Luxembourg has turned into reality its commitment to fully cooperate in tax matters. I would like to congratulate Minister Luc Frieden for his leadership in this process".

Austria and Switzerland will appreciate.

Parliament did not vote yet to confirm every agreement and nothing is actually enforced as the agreements start for data as of 2010.

The press realeases from Luxembourg stated that “The protocol envisages the information exchange on request in individual cases between the tax authorities of both countries. It applies to the financial years 2010 and following. The agreement does not have as an aim an automatic exchange of banking information and does not authorize general requests (fishing expeditions)"

Pascal Saint Amans from the OECD quoted by L'Expansion specified that "Il faudra seulement fournir l'identité d'une personne soupçonnés de fraude, et c'est tout" (free translation : it will only be required to provide with the identity of a person suspected to commit fraud and that's all)

This is not what many bankers in Financial centers understood.

I think the OECD is beeing fooled.


See new OECD list

12:34 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)


EFAMA is not aware of the stake in the truth on the depositary’s liability

Yesterday I wrote an article about the appointment of Claude Kremer from ALFI as Vice-President of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA), which is not of good omen in my opinion for the investors’ protection, as this appointment may mean that EFAMA supports Luxembourg’s view on the depositary’s liability and definitely disregards demonstrated failures in the transposition of the UCITS Directive in Luxembourg.



I had confirmation by reading the EFAMA annual report 2008-2009 (pdf file created on 16 June 2009 and modified on 17 June 2009).


There is a development about the depositary’s liability, which wants commenting (pages 18 and 19):



1. Commissioner McCreevy’ conclusion dated 28 May (the minimum high level principles of the UCITS Directive have been transposed in very diverging ways by Member States. The outcome is an unlevel playing field. This means that some EU investors in UCITS funds are better protected than others) is ignored. This opinion was however known when the EFAMA report was written and should have been taken into account.


2. The CSSF statement dated 27 May (As the CSSF has previously noted, UBSL shall have to indemnify a UCI depositor according to its obligations as a Luxembourg depositary bank, subject to valid and opposable contractual clauses to the contrary and, as the case may be, to a court decision in such matter) is ignored. This press release was however known when the EFAMA report was written and should have been taken into account.


3. The EFAMA bets that the European Commission will do nothing: it states in its report that “signals seem to indicate that the Commission itself is not keen to “tighten up” the rules in the UCITS Directive regarding the responsibility of the depositary for safekeeping and the conditions for delegation of custody and would prefer to resort to other means rather than re-opening the Directive to achieve clarification on these issues.”


4. The EFAMA admits that it wants to hush up the issue of the transposition of the UCITS directive in Luxembourg in a manner that opened the drift. In other words the EFAMA does not want to tighten up the ship and sanction.

The EFAMA states that its “position in this discussion has been very clear from the beginning: contribute to making the discussion more objective and to putting an end to reciprocal incrimination, meet the concerned competent authorities to hear about the progress of their research and to remind them that the issue is urgent as the UCITS brand and investors’ trust are at risk, underline that investor protection remains EFAMA’s top priority, draw attention to the fact that the mechanism of the UCITS Directive provides for a high level of investor protection and that it is not yet clear that any investor in a UCITS will lose money, support the Commission in its view that a fundamental analysis is needed before discussing new or additional legislation.”

“Contribute to making the discussion more objective and to putting an end to reciprocal incrimination” is its first goal and is more important than “investor protection”, which is in third position. As far as competent authorities are concerned, the Luxembourg regulator, the CSSF, was disappointing: it did not sanction UBS (there would have been a sanction in any seriously regulated jurisdiction), and should there have been any sanction, the amount would have been anyway ridiculous compared to any seriously regulated jurisdiction

This was admitted by the former head of the CSSF who just retired.

The appointment of Claude Kremer as Vice-President makes difficult even impossible the principle of calling into question in the framework of the EFAMA the Luxembourg legal and regulatory framework.





Two relevant questions should actually be answered to “make the discussion more objective”:


Who (individual and/or legal person) support (in an opinion, in a committee…) the remove of two critical provisions of the Directive in the Luxembourg law of transposition which opened the drift


There are actually two critical provisions that are missing in the Luxembourg text but that can be found in the Irish text.


Article 7 of the UCITS directive states that “1. A unit trust's assets must be entrusted to a depositary for safekeeping”. The word “safekeeping” (that is missing is the French version of the article) was removed in the transposition (Cf. article 17 of the Luxembourg Law of
20 December 2002). Additionally, Circular IMS 91/75 (as amended by Circular CSSF 05/177) dated 21 January 1991 states that “The concept of custody used to describe the general mission of the depositary should be understood not in the sense of “safekeeping”, but in the sense of “supervision” (…) The depositary has discharged its duty of supervision when it is satisfied from the outset and during the whole of the duration of the contract that the third parties with which the assets of the UCI are on deposit are reputable and competent and have sufficient financial resources.“


Madoff was reputable and competent and had sufficient financial resources.


Article 10 of the UCIT directive states that “ 1. No single company shall act as both management company and depositary”. This provision is not in the
Luxembourg text. This first paragraph was removed to only transpose literally paragraph 2 that states that “2. In the context of their respective roles the management company and the depositary must act independently and solely in the interest of the unit-holders.” (Cf. article 20 of the Luxembourg law of 20 December 2002
What is not clearly prohibited by the law is possible and it seems that UBS acted both as Management Company and depositary.



Who (individual and/or legal person) introduced Madoff in Luxembourg?


Probably someone that has an office in New York and that condoned red flags.



passeport lux.jpgThere must be no tolerance for those so-called pragmatic professionals that caused prejudice to investors, and put the European fund industry at risk by harming its reputation.

I am afraid investors cannot rely on the EFAMA, which seems much more business-oriented than client-oriented, by refusing

- To admit that the European UCITS password from Luxembourg is corrupted i.e. is altered from the original version of the Directive and

- To support the relevant actions to be done.



14:25 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)