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Something is broken in the Luxembourg fund industry

Reuters has reported that according to Financial experts gathered at the annual Luxembourg fund industry association's annual conference insisted the fraud orchestrated by Bernard Madoff was an unfortunate isolated incident that would not dent the country's leadership.

I am afraid that Madoff was not an isolated incident in the Luxembourg fund industry.

The Luxembourg leaders who communicate that there is agility in the decision-making process in Luxembourg thanks to a Close working relationship between the business community, the Government and the Legislator, actually demonstrate inertias in the handling of the case, because:

1) The European directive was transposed in a “pragmatic” way, which facilitated the drifts with Madoff: the pragmatic wording did not transpose faithfully the directive of 2005, which is easy to compare with the Luxembourg law of 2002;

2) Everyone is a “potential Madoff” in Luxembourg insofar as the requirement of business standing, as strictly defined by the law of 1993, is not really enforced because the relationships and networks of persons are very important in Luxembourg society, which explains the small number of criminal case before the courts. As I wrote, most of the identified operational red flags identified by EDHEC are definitely met in Luxembourg:
- lack of segregation amongst service providers,
- obscure auditors,
- heavy family influence,
- lack of disclosure,
- insufficient staff.

Everyone meets in the same associations, same business clubs... because of the small size. And nothing is done to prevent conflicts of interest.

3) At the beginning of the Madoff case, Luxembourg should have compensated the investors and negotiated in discretion with UBS: I suggested this solution in January to definitely close the file.

It its interim report dated 13 Marc 2009, the ALFI states that For Luxembourg-based funds, the Luxembourg regulator CSSF has evaluated the direct impact at 1.7 billion euros.

There is a funny substential discrepancy : the CSSF figure is about undertakings for collective investment which were impacted directly or indirectly and the ALFI figure quoting the CSSF is about undertakings for collective investment which are directly exposed

Such misleading discrepancy is not professional.

By denying the relevant issues, by not listening to lucid supports of the business, they collectively harm the credibility and the sustainability of the Luxembourg investment funds industry.

17:43 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)

Luxalpha : who should sit around a table and look for an extra-judiciary solution?

Reuters has reported what Luc Frieden said the day before yesterday about :
"I would encourage all parties involved to sit around a table and look for an extra-judiciary solution"
"It is always negative if court cases take a long time"
"It would be in the best interest of all parties if rather than having numerous court cases they would sit around a table."

As I explained despite what professionals and politicians in Luxembourg are saying, the Luxembourg framework allowed the situation.
I can understand UBS.

As I said in January, It is morally up to the Luxembourg state to compensate the clients for the Luxalpha disaster and sit around a table and look for an extra-judiciary solution with UBS for the refund.

Luxembourg has lost 2 months that damaged the country's reputation as a financial centre

08:08 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)


Jean-Claude Juncker : good international questions, bad internal answers

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said interesting things in an interview published Wednesday in le Temps.

Let's comment a couple of sentences freely translated.

The current bludgeoning disturbs me because it is based on an imposture while associating bank secrecy and tax haven, and because it does not hold any account of our public opinion.

Which public opinion? Who decides in the country?
Bankers actually decide. For example they created banking secrecy that was not in the Luxembourg tradition.

At the moment when G20 decide to increase regulation and to do a detailed examination of tax havens, its members have to be beyond any reproach. At the European Summit, it is my intent to ask for action. It is essential that British Territories, dependants of the British Crown (note by the editor: Jersey, Guernsey ...) in turn accept banking information exchange. I don't see either how the present review of the European Savings Directive can continue to ignore the British "Trusts", being at this moment out of the Detective's reach. The United Kingdom cannot continue to shelter large European fortunes from their national fiscal authorities. I want to take this a step further: it would be an aberration that the G20 would think about including Switzerland and Luxembourg in a blacklist, without including American States such as Delaware, whose LLC's (Limited Liability companies, note by editor) are exempt of any taxation! Morality in fiscal regulation matters is only credible if it is integral. Courage, and I bring this to France's and Germany's attention, has to be international."

I can agree with the paragraph, but I will say again that the British regulator is much more credible in its duty than the Luxembourg regulator.
Additionally, in the UK there is a public debate with people like Richard Murphy or Prem Sikka or John Christensen that do not have their equivalent in Luxembourg, where everyone agrees to hush up issues and protect Mammon.

This is a huge difference between both jurisdictions.

And by accusing other jurisdictions while not questioning on dysfunctions in his own jurisdiction, Prime Minister Juncker is not willing to correct what harms the reputation of Luxembourg.

17:36 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)