AIMA Opposes EU Financial Transaction Tax

Jan 17 2012 | 10:07am ET

A hedge fund lobby group has added its voice to those opposed to a proposed EU tax on financial transactions.

The Alternative Investment Management Association, which counts about 1,300 corporate members worldwide, said in a statement that the European Commission proposal—which would impose a tax of 0.1% on equity and bond transactions and 0.01% on derivatives—could lead to a “significant decrease in cross-border trading of financial instruments in the EU, undermining the single market.”

Supporters of the tax—including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—say it could raise €55 billion a year. Opponents, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, say this would be more than outweighed by its negative effects on the economy. An Ernst & Young report on the tax suggests its net negative effect could be between €2 billion and €116 billion as a result of decreased economic activity and lower revenue from other taxes.

AIMA CEO Andrew Baker said: “Our analysis concludes that the EU’s proposed financial transaction tax will reduce or eliminate a vast amount of cross-border share and bond trading activity within the European Union, thus undermining the single market. And we are not talking about complex financial transactions but very simple buying or selling of shares undertaken by ordinary investors. This could have very serious unintended consequences—including a further tightening of financing conditions for business—at a critical moment for the European economy.”
EU finance ministers are scheduled to discuss the proposed tax in March.

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