Archive for March, 2010

HNW Taxpayers and Nations States, A New Deal?

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Written by David S. Lesperance

In order for human beings to exist, survive and thrive they need to look to others at times for assistance. This requires individuals to join various “Collectives” in order to meet their on-going needs. This is true for even the most hardcore individualist, who at a minimum needed parents (or lab technicians) to put together a sperm and egg. Individuals find themselves assigned membership to certain Collectives at birth (e.g. immediate and extended family, nation of birth, religion of parents). However as they mature and acquire more of the skills of independence they increasingly discover that they have the option to either change Collectives or take personal responsibility for meeting their own needs.

Robinson Crusoe
Throughout history various forms of Collectives have been created to meet individual’s needs. They range from local tribes to cities/mega-regions to nation states/empires to global organizations such as religions or on-line social networks. Over time, the form, organization and governance of these Collectives have continually changed. Some gained strength and size (e.g. European Union) while others were assigned to the history books (e.g. Knights Templar). The creation, evolution and destruction of various forms of Collectives has been continuous and has been caused by many factors including military and natural events, emerging technologies, shifting economic power and the internal collapse of a given Collective’s governance.

For the past few centuries, the Collective known as the “Nation State” has been increasingly called upon to meet more and more of the needs of its members. This is especially been the case since the rise of the “Welfare State” in the early part of the last century. For many people today, their default reaction to any of their needs is, “The Government should do something about this?” However, they are becoming increasingly frustrated because the actual ability of their country to serve many of their needs either efficiently or at all is being drawn into question. The common reaction of the members of the Nation State is to vote out or throw out its current political leaders. However, some high tax/ dues paying members are asking the basic question as to whether their current or any country is the best vehicle to meet ALL the demands that its citizens are expecting it to fulfill. Some Nation States have noted the importance of these “Golden Geese” citizens and are actively courting their membership with better “win-win” proposals then are offered by their current countries. Also, technology, and other “flattening effects” are creating, at an unprecedented rate, new viable forms of Collectives to meet many needs currently serviced by Nation States.

Many countries having a heavy reliance on a tiny percentage of its members for funding, job creation and creative capital. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that that there will be a major restructuring amongst Nation States and other forms of Collectives in the early part of the 21st century as these Golden Geese reconfigure their relationships with these entities. Will Nation States recognize the need for a new deal with their Golden Geese before their departure causes that Nation State to join many other collectives in the dustbin of history?


Airplane Departing

News Articles

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Daily FinanceMore Rich Americans Renounce U.S. Citizenship Over Taxes
by Jonathan Berr

July 20, 2010

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Wall Street Journal

“Golden Geese” + Higher Taxes = Wealth Exodus?
by Robert Frank

January 6, 2010

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Flight of Canada’s ‘golden geese’
by Beth Marlin

November 5, 2009

The Flight of the Golden Geese

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

It is now a decade since the publication of The New Barbarian Manifesto. That book foretold of an increasing divide in the world between the Mobile Global Elite and those “old world” citizens who were still locked into decaying economic systems (both democratic and not) where their well-being was inexorably tied to the fortunes of a fast faltering state. The first decade of the new millennium has shown this hypothesis to be uncannily accurate. The Manifesto’s message was quite simple: the 20th century, the century of the masses, was over. Even the holy grail of popular democracy was not going to stop macro-economic forces from forever changing the micro-economic lives of each individual.

Just like the inevitability of the sun raising in the east each morning, no individual, politician, religion, or political movement can stop these trends from impacting everyone’s life. However, what is different is the increased capability of each individual to respond. Most people will continue to rely on their elected officials or others to stop the sunrise, but they will become increasingly frustrated and angry when this doesn’t work. These individuals will eventually wilt of economic sunstroke. Some will apply their own “economic sunscreen” and will manage to survive the onslaught of the sun’s rays until such time as their bottles runs dry. The New Barbarians, on the other hand, teach themselves how to build economic solar panels and thrive!

Since penning the original Manifesto, Ian Angell continues to expand upon his theories articulated in the Manifesto while lecturing at the London School of Economics. Unlike many academics, Ian takes the non-populist path and strives to see the world as it is and how it predictably will be, rather than as a fantasy utopia that the general public wishes it to be. His observations have been picked up by other journalists and writers such as Thomas Freidman in his popular book, “The World is Flat”. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, international tax and immigration lawyer David Lesperance read the Manifesto and recognized the implications of these predictions to the lives of his clients. Over the past decade, David has applied these theories to his practical real life legal work. He recognized that a lawyer’s real value comes in not only dealing with the crisis at hand, but also arming clients with the necessary weapons and shields to deal with what could possibly happen in the future.

Almost inevitably over the past decade there was a meeting of their respective theoretical and practical minds, and a friendly albeit infrequent e-mail relationship resulted between the professor and the lawyer. Then one day in October 2008, on one of David’s frequent visits to London, we finally met face to face. Over a very enjoyable lunch at the Yauatcha restaurant in Broadwick Street, we discussed the possibility of a collaborating on a new updated edition of the Manifesto. Much discussion has taken place since that lunch about how to move forward, and this website is the first public step towards making this publication a reality. In general, our message is that the collision of looming demographic realities, short sighted political decision-making, and the “flattening effects” of new technology have rewritten all the previous rules and commonly accepted conventions. The speed of change is unprecedented; and “the world as we know it” is not just dying, it’s already dead.

The 2008 global financial crisis and the near meltdown of the interlocked world banking system are a vivid demonstration that ‘things are different’. However, many people whether out of willful blindness or a child-like fear of dealing with change watch each news-report for a sign that “the temporary storm has passed and everything is returning back to normal”. Meanwhile they still vote in politicians who claim an omnipotent power to bring in “Change they can believe in”. For good or bad, the world of the 20th century is gone. For politics, governments and economies, there is a new reality.

In an effort to describe and explain what has happened, what is happening, and what will inevitably happen, we have launched this website and are writing this new book, The Flight of the Golden Geese.

At that famous lunch David summarized the purpose of his legal work as “I help my clients cover their ass, and their assets!” That highly colourful phrase neatly sums up another goal for this book. We want to provide a handbook for present and aspiring Mobile Global Elites (including newly minted knowledge workers, High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), and “mass-affluent” retirees), to survive and thrive in a world where, as predicted in the original Manifesto, “individuals, companies, communities and countries will either be catapulted into a new prosperity, or relegated to poverty, obscurity and extinction.”

These are lofty goals, and in order to reach them we have decided to write this book in a collaborative manner with the help of like-minded souls. We seek your input, your ideas, your suggestions, your challenges and your criticisms. At the end of the day, we will have to pull it all together, edit and publish a manuscript, but we are looking forward to the journey with you as much as we are looking forward to the destination of publication. Welcome to our vision of the future. Welcome to the “Brave New World” of The Flight of the Golden Geese.

Ian O. Angell and David S. Lesperance

David S. Lesperance

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Named by the Wall Street Journal as “probably the top lawyer in the business of advising wealthy U.S. citizens on how to expatriate to lower-tax countries”, David Lesperance specializes in providing tax-efficient global multi-jurisdiction residence/citizenship and domicile solutions which enable his clients to maintain or improve their current personal and business lifestyles. His international client base includes HNW individuals and families, financial professionals (aka: “Masters of the Universe”) and highly mobile artists, athletes, musicians and actors. The purpose of his “Passport Portfolio” approach is to provide the tools to deal with risks in the area of taxation, litigation, and mobility and to take advantage of opportunities in a continually globalizing and interconnected world. Surprisingly, many of his solutions involve jurisdictions which are generally thought to be “high tax” , but which allow legal and practical planning opportunities which turn them into “no, low or controlled tax” destinations.

Lesperance has written and lectured extensively throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. His opinion and insight is often sought out by the international business and legal press including the BBC, the Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. In his over 20 years of legal practice, Lesperance has advised a number of governments on how to design their residence and tax laws and systems to make their jurisdictions more attractive to his highly sought “Golden Geese” clients. In addition, he is increasingly called upon by major international financial institutions to provide in-house training sessions to their staff on how to identify potential client and regulatory problems and recognize planning opportunities for their private banking clients. While “sleeping more nights in Toronto than anywhere else”, Lesperance travels extensively which helps him bring an “agnostic global viewpoint” in analyzing the current and future opportunities in over 20 different jurisdictions.

Lesperance & Associates

Ian O. Angell

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Ian O. Angell has been Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics since 1986. Prior to that he researched and taught Computer Science at Royal Holloway College, and University College London.

Angell has very radical and constructive views on his subject, and is very critical of what he calls the pseudo-science of academic Information Systems. He has gained a certain notoriety worldwide for his aggressive polemics against the inappropriate use of artificial intelligence and so-called knowledge management, and against the hyperbole surrounding e-commerce.

His main research work concentrates on organizational and national I.T. policies, on strategic information systems, and on computers and risk (both opportunities and hazards), particularly the systemic risks inherent in all socio-technical systems and the security threats posed to organisations by the rapidly diffusing international information infrastructure.

His highly articulate presentations of his controversial position means he is in great demand by the media, and as a speaker on the international lecture circuit. Apart from his keynote talks on Computer Security, the Global Consequences of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and on business strategy in a world globalized through ICT, he is also well known for his workshops on new tactics for sales and marketing using the Internet, and for his pragmatic, down-to-earth and outspoken views on electronic commerce and developments in the telecomms industry
computers and risk (both opportunities and hazards), particularly the systemic risks inherent in all socio-technical systems and the security threats posed to organisations by the rapidly diffusing international information infrastructure.

His highly articulate presentations of his controversial position means he is in great demand by the media, and as a speaker on the international lecture circuit. Apart from his keynote talks on Computer Security, the Global Consequences of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and on business strategy in a world globalized through ICT, he is also well known for his workshops on new tactics for sales and marketing using the Internet, and for his pragmatic, down-to-earth and outspoken views on electronic commerce and developments in the telecomms industry