A group of 11 European Union member states, among them France, Germany and Italy, wants to impose a 0.1% tax on equity and debt transactions, and a 0.01% charge on derivatives transactions. These countries are pressing ahead on their own because other EU members, including financial hubs like Britain and Luxembourg, are opposed. …
The rates proposed sound negligible, but the tax would be imposed at each point in the transaction chain. A 0.1% rate therefore translates into something much bigger as securities move from seller to buyer via financial intermediaries. Even the headline rates are less innocuous than they look. A 0.1% charge on repo transactions, a way for banks to finance themselves overnight, turns into a 25% charge over the course of a working year. A 0.01% tax on a derivative trade sounds small, but is a hefty increase in costs given the large notional amounts involved—up to 18 times more than current costs in the most liquid markets, according to one calculation.
And how have they worked in practice?
After Sweden levied an FTT in the 1980s, 60% of trading volume in the most actively traded share classes moved to London; the tax was repealed in 1991.
It will send capital fleeing offshore.