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Liechtenstein Reforms Enter New Phase

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Liechtenstein government has recently announced the setting up of a new office designed to intensively coordinate the strategic reorganization of the Principality’s financial centre.

Underlining the fact that Liechtenstein’s financial centre is one of the central pillars of the country’s economy, the government revealed that it supports any necessary reorganization, associated with a changed international environment, with specific framework conditions. Consequently, in order to coordinate and to implement the government’s financial centre strategy and related measures and tasks, a new office or Stabsstelle responsible for international financial centre agendas (SIFA) has been established, operational as of February 1.

Commenting on the latest development, Liechtenstein’s Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher stated that the office will ensure that the transformation and reorganization of the Principality’s financial centre in accordance with the government’s developing strategy is consistently and professionally carried out and supported. Stabsstelle SIFA is designed to ensure that the reorganization of the financial centre, which began with the 'Futuro' project and the Liechtenstein Declaration, is coordinated more intensively.

In its statement, the government made clear that all bilateral and multilateral financial and tax negotiations will continue to be the responsibility of either the government or competent department, carried out in accordance with the agreed strategy and negotiating mandates.

The mission profile of the new Stabsstelle unit encompasses the following areas: coordinating the implementation and development of the financial centre strategy; coordinating international financial centre negotiations with the relevant offices, institutions and associations; representing Liechtenstein’s interests before international organizations as regards the financial centre, cooperating where necessary with the relevant authorities; and coordinating regulatory work in the financial centre and preparing decision documents for transforming and reorganizing the financial centre. The existing Futuro department is to be dissolved and integrated into the new SIFA office.

Head of the new unit Katja Gey explained that the challenges facing Liechtenstein in the field of international cooperation in financial and tax matters will not diminish and pointed out that the demands placed on Liechtenstein are not static but dynamic and complex, demanding an integrated approach. Over the course of the next few years there will undoubtedly be a need for further comprehensive action, she emphasized.

Liechtenstein’s ongoing ‘Futuro Strategy’ is a vision for the future, and the vision is divided into three separate areas: Futuro for the financial centre, Futuro for industry and Futuro for trade. The responsibility of the Futuro office (SFU), precursor to the SIFA, was to implement the vision for Liechtenstein as an economic location and to observe trends and developments in international economic locations and to propose new initiatives for Liechtenstein accordingly.