The election of a high net worth individual (HNWI) – a billionaire no less – to the US Presidency is likely to have resounding effects for his ilk around the world.
Though, with lack of any clear policies, few know exactly how. How will some of the campaign pledges and market reactions that followed Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections affect HNWIs?
One of the few concrete policies garnered from the Trump campaign surrounds tax: President Trump would seek to collapse the current seven tax brackets to just three, with the top tier ($225,000 and above) paying 33 percent.
For HNWIs, this is huge as most will currently be paying 39.6 percent with the top tier of $415,051 and above. Lily Batchelder, a visiting fellow at the Tax Policy Center, estimates that an HNWI will have an average tax cut of $317,000.
While tech stocks have tumbled since 8 November the opposite happened for energy stocks.
Oil, gas and coal have seen stocks soar and the knock on effects have been huge for the exploration, hardware, servicing and downstream firms that proliferate from them. Trump’s pledge to “unleash America’s $50trn in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, plus hundreds of years in clean coal reserves” has aided these price rises, but so too has his scepticism towards global warming.
Apple currently holds $230bn in a myriad of offshore structures. However, in 2017 that could all change according to its CEO, Tim Cook. Trump has promised to slash the tax on repatriated cash to 10 percent from 35 percent, a move that will see Apple and other companies bring back overseas earnings that have for years sat in offshore accounts (top five overseas cash holders are Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Cisco and Oracle.)
While beneficial to global giants based in the US such as Apple, it could see the largest withdrawal of cash from offshore financial centres as an estimated $2.trn is bought home.
This is likely to hurt low tax jurisdictions such as Ireland, the Cayman Islands, jersey, Luxembourg and Singapore, where many US corporations host their overseas operations. A 2014 CTJ study found that US corporations “collectively report earning profits in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands that are 16 times the gross domestic products of each of those countries, which is clearly impossible.”