Category: TPG2020 Chapter X: Financial Transactions

The 2015 BEPS Action Plan reports on Action 4 (Limiting base erosion involving interest deductions and other financial payments) and Actions 8-10 (Aligning Transfer Pricing Outcomes with Value Creation) mandated follow-up work on the transfer pricing aspects of financial transactions. In particular, Action 4 of the BEPS Action Plan called for the development of:

“…transfer pricing guidance … regarding the pricing of related party financial transactions, including financial and performance guarantees, derivatives (including internal derivatives used in intra-bank dealings), and captive and other insurance arrangements.”

Under these mandates, the Committee on Fiscal Affairs produced a non-consensus discussion draft on financial transactions in July 2018. The discussion draft aimed to clarify the application of the principles included in the 2017 edition of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), in particular, the accurate delineation analysis under Chapter I, to financial transactions. It also provided guidance with specific issues relating to the pricing of loans, cash pooling, financial guarantees, and captive insurance.

The guidance contained in this report takes account of comments received in response to the public discussion draft. This guidance is significant because it is the first time the Guidelines will be updated to include guidance on the transfer pricing aspects of financial transactions, which should contribute to consistency in the application of transfer pricing and help avoid transfer pricing disputes and double taxation. Sections A to E of this report will be included in the Guidelines as Chapter X. The guidance in Section F of this report will be added to Section D.1.2.1 in Chapter I of the Guidelines, immediately following paragraph 1.106.

This report describes the transfer pricing aspects of financial transactions, including a number of examples to illustrate the principles discussed. Section B provides guidance on the application of the principles contained in Section D.1 of Chapter I of the Guidelines to financial transactions. In particular, Section B.1 of this report elaborates on how the accurate delineation analysis under Chapter I applies to the capital structure of an MNE within an MNE group. It also clarifies that the guidance included in that section does not prevent countries from implementing approaches to address capital structure and interest deductibility under their domestic legislation. Section B.2 outlines the economically relevant characteristics that inform the analysis of the terms and conditions of financial transactions.

Sections C, D and E of this report address specific issues related to the pricing of financial transactions (e.g. treasury functions, intra-group loans, cash pooling, hedging, guarantees and captive insurance). This analysis elaborates on both the accurate delineation and the pricing of the controlled financial transactions. Finally, Section F provides guidance on how to determine a risk-free rate of return and a risk-adjusted rate of return.

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.226

In considering how the conditions of the transaction between A and B differ from those which would be made between independent enterprises, it is important to consider how the high level of profitability of the insurance policies is achieved and the contributions of each of the parties to that value creation. The product sold to the third party is an insurance policy substantially the same as that which any other insurer in the general market […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.225

For example Company A is a high street retailer of high value new technology consumer goods. At the point of sale, A offers insurance policies to third party customers which provide accidental damage and theft cover for a 3-year period. The policies are insured by Company B, an insurer which is part of the same MNE group as A. A receives a commission with substantially all of the profit on the insurance contract going to […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.224

Where an insurance contract is not sold directly from insurer to insured, recompense will usually be due to the party who arranges the original sale. In certain circumstances a higher rate of profit might be earned on the third party sale than would otherwise be expected from comparison with similar transactions. Where the sales agent and insurer or reinsurer are associated, any comparability analysis as part of the process of determining the arm’s length level […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.223

For example, a manufacturing MNE group has 50 subsidiaries in different locations around the world, all in locations with substantial risk of earthquake, each insures against earthquake damage at its manufacturing plant, with each plant in a different location, assessed on its individual level of risk. The MNE group sets up a captive insurance which accepts the risk from all of the subsidiaries and reinsures it with independent reinsurers. By bringing together a portfolio of […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.222

Where a captive insurance is used so that the MNE group can access the reinsurance market to divest itself of risk through insuring risk outside the MNE group, whilst making cost savings over using a third party intermediary, by pooling risks within the MNE group, the captive arrangement harnesses the benefits of collective negotiation on any reinsured risks and more efficient allocation of capital in respect of any risks retained. These benefits arise as a […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.221

It is important to recognise that the capital adequacy requirements of a captive insurance are likely to be significantly lower than an insurer writing policies for unrelated parties. This factor should be considered and, if necessary, adjusted for in order to determine the appropriate level of capital to use when calculating the investment return. Differences in capital adequacy between captive insurance and arm’s length insurers typically arise because of regulatory and commercial factors. Insurance regulators […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.220

The remuneration of the captive insurance can be arrived at by considering the arm’s length profitability of the captive insurance by reference to a two staged approach which takes into account both profitability of claims and return on capital. The first step would be to identify the captive insurance’s combined ratio. This can be determined by expressing claims and expenses payable as a percentage of premiums receivable. The benchmarked combined ratio achieved by unrelated insurance […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.219

Alternatively, actuarial analysis may be an appropriate method to independently determine the premium likely to be required at arm’s length for insurance of a particular risk. In setting prices for an insurance premium, an insurer will seek to cover its expected losses on claims, its costs associated with writing and administering policies and dealing with claims, plus a profit to provide a return on capital, taking into account any investment income it expects to receive […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.218

The application of the CUP method to a transaction involving a captive insurance may encounter practical difficulties to determine the need for and quantification of comparability adjustments. In particular, account should be taken of potential differences between the controlled and uncontrolled transactions that may affect the reliability of the comparables. Those differences may refer, for instance, to situations where the functional analysis indicates that a captive insurance performs less functions than a commercial insurer (e.g. […]

TPG2020 Chapter X paragraph 10.217

Comparable uncontrolled prices may be available from comparable arrangements between unrelated parties. These may be internal comparables if the captive insurance has suitably similar business with unrelated customers, or there may be external comparables.

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