In the United States of America, it’s been a common refrain that executives are being paid far too much, given the amount of work they actually do. This is often pointed as one of the chief reasons that the wealth gap in the United States has continued to grow at a tremendous rate over the last 60 years.
But one lawyer sees the other side of that coin. Jeremy Goldstein has made a name for himself as one of the most skillful executive compensation lawyers in the United States today. Over a 15 your career working with law firm Wachtel Lipton, Goldstein has handled some of the largest mergers and acquisitions in recent corporate history.
This has given Goldstein a unique perspective on the true uses and abuses of executive compensation. According to Goldstein, executive compensation plays a crucial role in properly incentivizing competent execution of top leadership roles within America’s corporations. Without the ability to adequately compensate employees, America’s corporations would be unable to generate the continuous gains in productivity and profitability that it had seen over the last half-century. Without adequate executive compensation, America’s economy would stagnate and decline.
Goldstein, throughout his career, has seen the ravages of activist shareholders, who have laid waste to the best thought-out executive compensation plans. Goldstein recommends modern executives, business owners and other people in a leadership position within Americas corporations that they should carefully guard against attacks by shareholder activists that are centered around discord among the shareholders and the board regarding executive compensation.
Goldstein recommends that all executives maintain closer relationships and as solid a rapport with shareholders and the board as is possible. He also recommends that all corporations use a carefully defined, highly detailed corporate compensation protocol that is closely aligned with corporate goals of growth and creation of shareholder value.
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Many people around the world have a distinct impression of New Zealand: an exotic land, full of wealthy people making complex financial deals. Their impression is much fancier than the more boring truth. As Geoffrey Cone points out, contrary to most people’s beliefs, New Zealand is not a tax haven. Nor are they anywhere close to it.
The OECD (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) keeps a list of global tax havens. Spoiler alert: New Zealand is not on it. They have never been on it, and more than likely never will be. The main traits of a tax haven are that they impose little to no taxes, there is no tax transparency, and there are laws in place that inhibit the exchanging of information with other countries or governments. New Zealand does not qualify as a tax haven on any of those grounds, nor is their banking industry in the least bit secretive or private.
The 2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters helped create a gold standard for transparency. New Zealand was actually one of the first countries in the world to be put on this white list for having implemented the agreed upon tax standard. They demonstrate leadership in the OECD by how it handles foreign trusts and their requirements of trustees. All of these things aid in helping other governments that request information.
After extensive consultation, there were new rules added in 2006. Under these new rules, a New Zealand resident trustee of a foreign trust must submit a Foreign Trust Disclosure form and keep other financial records for tax purposes.
These other records can include details of settlements, the trust deed, details of assets, and any money the trustee receives or spends. If this trust is carried on a business, the trustee must also provide information about the business’s accounting system and charts of the account. These records must be recorded in English and any failure to adhere to these new rules can attract heavy penalties.
Geoffrey Cone is a trusted New Zealand lawyer who specializes in tax and trust law. He graduated with honors from the University of Otago and received a post graduate diploma in tax and trust law. He started practicing law in 1980. He created his own practice in 1999, Cone Marshall Limited, which is the only New Zealand law firm to specialize exclusively in international law and tax planning. It gives trustee and trust management services.