The Columns

W&L’s Christopher Bruner Delivers Keynote Address in London

— by on February 3rd, 2017

Christopher BrunerChristopher Bruner

Christopher Bruner, the William Donald Bain Family Professor of Corporate Law at Washington and Lee, delivered the keynote address at a conference titled “International Financial Services and Small States” on January 30, 2017.  He also participated in a closing reflections panel on January 31.

Hosted by the global law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, and co-sponsored by the Centre for Small States at Queen Mary University of London, the Caribbean Export Development Agency, and Fran Hendy Attorneys, the conference focused on international financial centers in small jurisdictions, the international tax reform agenda and its impact on such centers, and potential opportunities for such centers.  Participants included public officials; representatives of multilateral organizations, including the OECD and the Commonwealth; consultants; and lawyers and economists from both academia and the private sector.

Bruner’s keynote address presented the argument developed in his recently released book, Re-Imagining Offshore Finance: Market-Dominant Small Jurisdictions in a Globalizing Financial World (OUP 2016).  In the book, he advances a new theoretical framework to refine the analysis of small jurisdictions active in cross-border finance and direct that analysis toward more productive inquiries, proposing a new concept better capturing the characteristics, competitive strategies, and market roles of those achieving global dominance in the marketplace – the “market-dominant small jurisdiction” (MDSJ). Professor Bruner identifies the central features giving rise to such jurisdictions’ competitive strengths – some reflecting historical, cultural, and geographic circumstances, while others reflect development strategies pursued in light of those circumstances.

Through this lens, Bruner evaluates a range of small jurisdictions that have achieved global dominance in specialized areas of cross-border finance, including Bermuda (insurance), Dubai (Islamic finance), Singapore (wealth management), Hong Kong (Mainland finance), Switzerland (cross-border banking), and Delaware (business entity organization).  He further tests the MDSJ concept’s explanatory power through a broader comparative analysis, and he concludes that the MDSJs’ significance will likely continue to grow – as will the need for a more effective means of theorizing their roles in cross-border finance and the global dynamics generated by their ascendance.

Read more about Professor Bruner’s scholarship here.