What is the Financial Secrecy Index?

The Financial Secrecy Index focuses on 133 jurisdictions, including several that are not traditionally considered to be secrecy jurisdictions, such as China, France, Germany, and Japan.

The Tax Justice Network prefers the term secrecy jurisdiction over tax haven but uses both interchangeably.

Secrecy jurisdictions set up laws and systems which provide legal and financial secrecy to individuals and entities based elsewhere. The Tax Justice Network’s index shows that there is no clear dividing line between secrecy jurisdictions and others. They exist on a wide spectrum.

The Financial Secrecy Index consists of a qualitative and a quantitative measure.

The qualitative measure looks at a jurisdiction’s laws and regulations, international treaties, and so on, to assess how secretive a jurisdiction is. It gets assigned a secrecy score: the higher the score, the more secretive the jurisdiction.

The quantitative measure attaches a weighting to take account of the jurisdiction’s size and overall importance to the global market for offshore financial services.

We explain the weighting here and full details of our methodology are here, and we provide full details of how we calculate each secrecy indicator here.

Reports for each country

Two standalone reports are published for each jurisdiction.

First, the country reports provide a basic overview of a jurisdiction, highlighting its most important features from a secrecy perspective. For each of the bigger jurisdictions, we have also written detailed special reports looking at the political history of how that jurisdiction became an offshore financial centre. A list of all country reports is here.

Second, the database reports supplement the country reports and are designed for detailed research. They contain a much fuller range of variables and data collected for each jurisdiction, with detailed sources and references. Included is all the underlying data required for compiling the country reports plus many other details, such as statements made by international organisations on the financial, tax and money laundering regulations of each jurisdiction. A full list of database reports is here.

The Financial Secrecy Index has a fundamental difference from rankings that focus on identifying corruption and governance problems within countries. (This is one of the aspects that makes it unique.) Since the core business of secrecy jurisdictions is typically to facilitate criminal and abusive activities carried out elsewhere, in a world of global financial movements it makes no sense for us to focus only on what happens inside individual jurisdictions. So financial secrecy has to be analysed from a global perspective.

The Financial Secrecy Index 2020 ranks the jurisdictions most to blame for supplying financial secrecy, and provides pointers for global action.

Commercial users must purchase a licence to use any Financial Secrecy Index data. All users must register to access data in Excel format (registration is free for non-commercial users).