Vistra publishes corporate services report

Posted: 14/10/2020

Vistra 2030 reportVistra has released its report Vistra 2030: Unlocking opportunity for the decade ahead, which outlines six trends shaping the corporate services sector – from the impact of Covid-19 to the perceived decline of offshore centres and the future for regulatory cooperation. 

The research draws on the insight of 620 industry specialists and interviews with 20 leaders.

Jonathon Clifton, Vistra Regional Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, said: “When we launched this study a decade ago, the corporate services industry looked very different. The industry was heavily fragmented, with a lot of single jurisdiction operators and niche providers. 

"Since then, the industry has experienced unprecedented change, with increased regulatory requirements and major geopolitical and economic shifts.

Our research has charted the sector’s growing sophistication as clients have sought asset protection and growth in this increasingly complex environment.”

Headline findings

• Confidence shaken as cross-border business grows more complex Just 38% of respondents are confident about their firm’s growth prospects, down from 75% in the previous study in 2018, as Covid-19 takes hold. Only 32% are confident about the ease of doing business across borders (61% in 2018). 

• The industry is divided about how Covid-19 will impact the onshore versus offshore dynamic 30% of respondents say Covid-19 will accelerate the shift away from offshore towards onshore, 38% are uncertain, and 32% say the opposite.  

• Regulatory co-operation may have peaked, as industry expectations of convergence fade For the first time since 2015, the number of respondents predicting greater international convergence on information sharing, beneficial ownership registries and tax-accounting standards has declined. Industry figures are questioning whether global alignment on these measures is realistic within the next five years. 

• Ten-year data shows privacy and tax planning fall as drivers of demand Asset protection (35%) and facilitating FDI (34%) are now the principal reasons for establishing entities. For respondents reliant on the BVI and Cayman Islands, stability, expertise and flexibility are the most valued attributes. When study began in 2010, privacy and tax were at the  top of the list. 

• Singapore leapfrogs Hong Kong in jurisdiction rankings for the first time Uncertainty over Hong Kong’s future autonomy, coupled with Singapore’s push to become more competitive, have turned the tables – for now. Singapore shares the top spot with the UK and US. 

• China’s dominance recedes as emerging Asia becomes top market for origination As tensions between US and China continue, the industry is questioning its long-held perception of China as its main source of new business. Some 54% expect rising demand for company formation jurisdictions to come from emerging Asia (excluding China), while 42% cite China as a major source of increased demand.

To view the Vistra 2030 report, click here

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