Foreign banks in Argentina will be able to work without a license
The Argentine government is developing a new bill that will amend the Capital Markets Law. The main purpose of the new law is to attract foreign investment in the country. Among other proposals, in particular, it is planned to allow representatives of foreign banks and other financial institutions to provide private banking services without a license issued by the Central Bank of Argentina.
The new law provides that those representatives of foreign banks who want to do business in Argentina will have to:
register with local authorities
pay taxes in Argentina,
open bank accounts for incoming funds
establish a special office in Argentina.
Together with the tax amnesty program, a more loyal attitude towards investors should bring Argentina a significant influx of foreign investment.
Argentina requires HSBC to return money from offshore
Tax Amnesty in Argentina
In December 2015, a new government came to power in Argentina, which immediately launched reforms, mainly in the economic sphere. The main problems of Argentina are large foreign debt, high inflation and a shortage of foreign currency. In this regard, one of the most important tasks for the current government is to attract foreign investment.
To achieve this goal, it is necessary to remove barriers and ensure an unimpeded flow of funds, both incoming and outgoing, create a more loyal tax atmosphere, increase the number of participants in Argentine capital markets, and also reduce or completely eliminate bureaucratic barriers. These are the tasks that the Argentine government is currently trying to solve.
An important way to obtain additional investment for Argentina is to return funds withdrawn from the country using a tax amnesty, which was announced in May 2016. It will last until March 31, 2017.
As of the end of October 2016, about 100,000 taxpayers have decided to disclose information about their cash assets. The amount of funds declared as part of the amnesty has already exceeded $ 4.5 billion.
Earlier, in 2012, the amount of offshore funds belonging to the Argentines, was estimated at $ 400 billion. Over the years, this amount is likely to have increased to more than $ 500 billion, which is equal to the country’s GDP. If the new government of Argentina can turn the tide and return the funds to the country, it will be a serious political victory.
Argentine amnesty: pay a fine or buy bonds with an income of 0%
UBS is planning a business in Argentina
Meanwhile, experts speculate on which large international banks can open their representative offices in Argentina, taking advantage of the favorable situation on the capital market. In particular, it has been suggested that Swiss state-owned banks UBS Group AG and Julius Baer Group Ltd. intend to expand in Argentina in the near future.
Other large banks can also see Argentina as a potential growth market, as they expect the reforms undertaken by the new government to lead to positive results.
In particular, the success of the Argentine amnesty can not go unnoticed by the asset management industry. The more funds the Argentine authorities manage to attract to the country, the more people will be willing to take part in managing these funds.
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JPMorgan closes Argentine bills with dirty money
In turn, the American bank JPMorgan warned its Argentine customers that it will close the accounts of those who do not declare their funds under the tax amnesty program.
JPMorgan, like other large international banks operating in Argentina, is concerned about the situation and is trying to avoid additional reputational and financial risks. In this regard, their customers have already received warnings – if it is revealed that “dirty”, undeclared funds are stored in the accounts, the accounts will be closed.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that from next year the countries will begin the automatic exchange of information on financial accounts, and it will be practically impossible to hide from the tax attention. Argentina will begin the exchange of one of the first in 2017.
Financial institutions in all countries that have agreed to participate in the automatic exchange will be required to collect information about the accounts of their customers and provide it to the tax authorities. In this connection, many countries have announced a tax amnesty in order to give “the last chance” to taxpayers to voluntarily disclose information and return the money to the country.
Such amnesties are of great benefit to states with large external debt and budget deficits. In essence, taxpayers have no choice but to provide information and return the tax debt themselves, or to wait until the information becomes automatically available.