The Isle of Man has always prided itself on being a good corporate neighbour – 'cooperation' and 'participation' being the Government's watchwords when operating in the global business arena, and this approach has been a highly successful one.

The Island's latest excursion onto the international stage was attending the important conference in Liechtenstein on the future of the world's financial centres. Treasury Minister Allan Bell joined high level discussions with senior banking, regulatory and political representatives from across Europe.

Mr Bell was among 100 delegates invited to the prestigious annual forum - known as the 'Liechtenstein Dialogue' - that brings together top decision-makers from leading financial capitals like Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom. Distinguished speakers included Angela Knight of the British Bankers Association; Pat Farrell, Chief Executive, Irish Banking Federation; Franz-Hermann Bruner, Director General of the European Anti-Fraud Office; Beat Bernet, Managing Director of the Swiss Institute for Banking and Finance; and Guido Westerweller, Chairman of the German Free Democratic Party.

Identifying Business Opportunities

Mr Bell said: 'This year the Dialogue focused on identifying promising new business and business products for financial centres and discussed the regulatory and government action needed to make such innovations work.

'I was pleased that I could bring to the discussion the Isle of Man's experiences in several relevant areas. The strength and co-operation between government and business is one of the keys to the Isle of Man's success – success that has seen 24 years of continuous growth, giving us a per capita GDP that is more than 25 per cent higher than in the 15 countries that up until 2004 constituted the European Union.'

During the two-day conference in Vaduz, the principality's capital, Mr Bell held private meetings with Prince Alois, Liechtenstein's Head of State, and Prime Minister Otmar Hasler, in which they discussed their respective nations' aspirations for the future and the external issues facing each country.

Matters Of Mutual Interest

Mr Bell added: 'The Island is a well-regulated financial centre with a diverse and expanding economy and stable political environment. However, we must remain alert to international developments. I am grateful Prince Alois and the Prime Minister made the time to discuss with me areas of mutual interest. It is a guiding principle of the Dialogue that in today's global economy institutions and governments need to meet and share their knowledge and experience.'

As a self-governing crown dependency, the Isle of Man enjoys an enviable 'special relationship' with the EU while not being a member state.

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