The 10 easiest and toughest countries to do business in

By Isabelle Bell, CA Today

17 February 2016

Ireland, Australia and Hong Kong have been named as some of the least complex countries for business compliance, while Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand are among the most complex, according to a global study.

TMF Group’s Global Benchmark Complexity Index examined how difficult it was for multinational enterprises to comply with corporate regulation and legislation in 2015.

The UK emerged as the 21st least complex nation and was praised for recent efforts to reduce corporate secretarial complexity, citing the introduction of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

Plans to abolish annual returns later this year and replace them with a statement, and the upcoming implementation of corporate entities acting as directors of companies, were also welcomed by the report.

Matthew Eckford, Director – International Entity Management at TMF Group, said that multinationals are having to deal with an “ever increasing regulatory and compliance burden”, as they expand into new regions or manage their presence in multiple territories.

Maintaining accurate and consistent information across a business’ international operations should be a “major priority for leadership teams”.

The 10 most complex countries for businesses

  1. Argentina
  2. Indonesia
  3. Colombia
  4. United Arab Emirates
  5. China
  6. Mexico
  7. Bolivia
  8. Lebanon
  9. Thailand
  10. Brazil

The 10 least complex countries for businesses

  1. Ireland
  2. British Virgin Islands
  3. Latvia
  4. Trinidad and Tobago
  5. New Zealand
  6. Labuan
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Barbados
  9. Australia
  10. Azerbaijan

The report ranked Ireland as the world’s least complex jurisdiction, thanks to its pro-business attitude, stable political environment and strong legal framework.

Ireland was praised for its new companies act which consolidated all historical company law legislation.

New companies in Ireland are no longer required to hold an AGM and the minimum number of directors has been reduced from two to one.

Hong Kong was also commended for its transparent and efficient government infrastructure and free-market economy.

Argentina topped the table as the most complex place to do business for the third year running, but the report said that “significant changes” are being made to reduce complexity.

The development of legal systems in the 10 most complex areas are “plagued by limited investment” and “lack the necessary legal infrastructure to support a robust corporate governance environment”, the report said.

With the exception of China and UAE, all of the jurisdictions in the top 10 have a civil based legal system.

Matthew Eckford said: “Boards of directors face mounting pressure from many governments, who are creating additional layers of compliance as they continue to demand that companies provide them with more information about their activities and corporate structures. This can cause major headaches for in-house teams who do not have sufficient knowledge of local regimes and their potential pitfalls.”

Source TMF Group


  • Business

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