International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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This paper proposes a new definition of Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) and develops a statistical method to differentiate between OFCs and non-OFCs using data from the Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS), the International Investment Position (IIP), and the balance of payments. The suggested methodology identifies more than 80 percent of the OFCs in the study sample that also appear in the a priori list used by the IMF to conduct its OFC assessment program. The methodology distinguishes OFCs based strictly on their macroeconomic features and avoids subjective presumptions on their activities or regulatory frameworks. The study also identifies three new countries meeting OFC criteria.
This note documents and assesses the role of small financial centers in the international financial system using a newly-assembled dataset. It presents estimates of the foreign asset and liability positions for a number of the most important small financial centers, and places these into context by calculating the importance of these locations in the global aggregate of cross-border investment positions. It also reports some information on bilateral cross-border investment patterns, highlighting which countries engage in financial trade with small financial centers.