UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Robin Hood tax - Unintended Consequences?

The European Commission yesterday agreed to consider a proposal to introduce a tax on financial transactions to raise money to pay back government debt and improve the functioning of markets. A so called ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions will hit pensions funds and Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) funds hard, the Investment Management Association (IMA) has warned.  http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/news/2112815/eu-robin-hood-tax-hit-pension-funds-ima

However, such a tax would only hurt savers more, the IMA argues. "Pension funds could be hit twice by this tax: when the fund manager arranges a transaction on behalf of the fund and when the fund acquires or sells that asset," said Julie Patterson, director at the IMA.

"UCITS investors could be hit three times, as they may also be taxed when they buy units in the fund. As proposed, this would be a tax on savers, not banks.

"Also, the tax will create distortions in the retail marketplace. Insurance-based investment products will not be caught as they are not strictly ‘financial instruments'."

Patterson added the IMA agrees with the European Commission's aim to create incentives for long-term investment, but said a Robin Hood tax will fail to do so. She said existing stamp duty on funds has already driven many funds away from the UK, and further tax will create distortions between the EU and other financial centres.