‘Incremental tinkering doesn’t really have the desired effect,’ says Elizabeth Henson, calling for a tax sphere that is ‘fit for the future’. ‘There needs to be a focus on re-examining the whole system.’
Henson heads the firm’s private client and private business teams, and is the go-to for UHNW families with global investments and interests. ‘Commercial substance, transparency and arm’s-length principles are key,’ she responds when asked about her approach to offshore tax planning.
An expert on the Middle East, Africa and Asia, she has seen the concept of trusts spread in emerging markets. She credits ‘greater regulation and governance of trustees’ and increased transparency as factors. However, tax transparency can be a double-edged sword, as it impinges on the right to privacy. ‘Fears about personal safety and security remain real,’ she says.
Henson advocates ‘intergenerational fairness’, and agrees that tax can play a part
in closing the generational gap, but is mindful of the challenges and risks that will follow when individuals are categorised based on age. ‘It’s important to review overall inequality and fairness, putting policies in place that
help create a more cohesive society,’ she says.