EU leaders are at it once again; putting Financial Transaction Taxes (FTTs or Tobin Taxes as they are also called) back on the agenda while they are forced on the back foot by the unresolved Euro crisis. At a time when citizens are losing faith in the ability of our leaders to solve the crisis, talking about FTTs, which remain heavily popular with the public, almost always earns political brownie points.
But what can FTTs really achieve? And is the current approach, presented by the European Commission, designed to succeed? If not, should be abandon the idea altogether or is there another tax design that will work better?
One thing is for sure FTTs will not change the world, nor democratize global finance. Nor will they raise the hundreds of billions of Euros of revenue that is sometimes attributed to them. But, approached sensibly, a well-designed and flexible regime for financial transaction taxes can deliver a lot of benefits.
On request from the commission we have sent in our detailed comments to the Mifid review consultation on which we have been in close touch with DG Markt. Here is our quick accessible take on some of the more controversial issues where media interest has been high.