13th June 2019

VAT & Financial Services conference 2019

An update on current developments, and what they mean in practice at a time when the future of VAT continues to be uncertain:

  • Perspectives from HMRC

  • The changing face of exemptions

  • New challenges, new worries, new opportunities

  • The practicalities of Making Tax Digital

  • All the latest VAT case law and guidance

  • Networking drinks

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Why attend?

Orca Law’s VAT and Financial Services conference offers the chance to hear from a mix of some of the UK’s leading experts across a wealth of topics and cases that continue to shape the world of VAT.


As case law continues to challenge received wisdoms, we review the key FS developments of the last 12 months and assess what might happen next.


Hear first-hand from HMRC on the excitement that awaits us. Were we ready for Brexit? And for MTD?


Hear from industry experts on what is keeping them busy.


Indirect tax professionals need to respond to increasing compliance burdens and industry changes but what does it mean in practice? Is making tax digital realistic? What do we actually need to do? And what might we be missing?

To manage risk and spot opportunities – whether in your own organisation or for your clients – you need to know what’s going on, and to be sure that you’ve not missed an important new development.


Drawing on the knowledge and practical experience of a range of expert speakers, this conference will cover current and future developments in insurance and financial services VAT, and put them into context.


8.45     Registration

            Breakfast and coffee

9.30     Chairman's Introduction

            Etienne Wong

9.45     Banking, Capital Markets and Investment Management update

            • Branches and VAT grouping, what does this mean

               for existing structures?

            • Evolving landscape of investment management exemptions

            • Scope of exemption for payments and Banking Fintech

            John Clarke, PwC

10.30   Morning break

10.45   Insurance

            • Latest cases and developments

            • Establishment

            • IPT

            Mustafa Sikandary, Grant Thornton

11.30   Industry panel session

            • Compliance including MTD

            • Implementing PESMs

            • Work post Brexit

            Heather Catlin, HSBC; Mary Cook, Bupa; Alan Paterson

12.15   Lunch

13.15   VAT 2.0 - The future?

            • Making Tax Difficult

            • Death of the VAT Return?

            • Doing the Splits

            • Sunlit Uplands

            Peter Dylewski, KPMG

14.00   A view from HMRC

            • The extension to VAT grouping announced in the Budget

            • Changes to the VAT notice, particularly in relation to S43(2A)

            • Fixed establishments for VAT grouping

            Will Prowse and David Graham, HMRC FS Large Business Team

14.40   HMRC Q&A

            Rhiannon​ Churchill, Will Prowse, and David Graham, HMRC FS Large Business Team

15.00   Afternoon break

15.15   VAT in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

            Joanne Clarke, Pinsent Masons

16.00   Case Law Update and catch all

            • Open Market Value between connected parties

            • Blackrock

            • United Biscuits

            Michael Brady, and James Vernon, KPMG

16.45   Q&A, final remarks & prize draw

17.00   Complimentary drinks and refreshments

2019 Programme



Etienne Wong qualified as a solicitor in 1990, and was head of the VAT unit at Clifford Chance LLP from 1999 to 2014. He was called to the Bar in 2014, and is a member of Old Square Tax Chambers. He has been advising on all aspects of VAT since 1989 (particularly in relation to financing transactions, real estate transactions, funds, private equity transactions, new media, emerging technology and transactions on the power and energy sectors.

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John Clarke is a Director within the Banking and Capital Markets Tax team, with over 10 years of experience specialising in indirect taxes across the financial services sector, but with a focus on international banking and capital markets operations. John advises a range of clients and has significant M&A experience, acting for a range of vendors and purchasers on transactions involving multiple EU and non-EU territories. John also advises clients across a wide range of compliance issues, including PESM negotiations, implementing VAT processes and controls and automating compliance processes where appropriate to achieve efficiencies and reduce risks within the compliance process.

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Heather Catlin is Head of Indirect Tax at HSBC. She has 19 years’ experience in VAT, mainly focused on Banking and Insurance. She has previously held positions at Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and EY’s Financial Services Practice. She has an interest in Islamic Financial Services and is a member of the BBA VAT Working Group as well as a contributor to the BBA Blue Book. In recent years Heather has been involved in looking Blue Book. In recent years Heather has been involved in looking at Target Operating Models for in-house VAT functions and the use of technology for automation in VAT. She chairs the People Committee for Tax at HSBC.

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Mary Cook is UK Head of Tax at Bupa, responsible for the UK tax affairs and advising on a range of tax issues including new affairs and advising on a range of tax issues including new markets, product development, acquisitions and disposals. A key area of focus for Mary and her team has been the implementation of software solutions to automate tax compliance processes across taxes, including VAT. She was previously Head of Indirect Taxes at Bupa and retains a keen interest in VAT and partial exemption matters.

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Peter Dylewski leads KPMG's EMA region financial services tax practice. He has more than 17 years' experience in FS VAT, with a particular focus on technology, asset management and International

VAT issues.

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Mustafa Sikandry is an Associate Director at Grant Thornton focusing on the insurance and financial services markets. He has over ten years’ experience in indirect tax across both ‘Big Four’ and top 10 accountancy firms. His clients comprise insurance underwriters, brokers and other intermediaries, Lloyd’s market participants, as well as insuretech and fintech businesses.

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Joanne Clarke is an international VAT advisor with over 11 years of experience advising clients and corporate groups of all sizes across a range of industry sectors on VAT compliance, structuring and technical matters. She supports in-house tax and finance leads in clients to identify the VAT status of their business, their VAT needs and effective ways of mitigating risk and creating efficiencies within their internal VAT governance. She has significant experience in assisting clients with their VAT compliance needs from basic manual returns to the most modern tax engines for compliance automation. She has ample experience in dealing with analysis of tax law, tax judgments of the courts and collaborating with tax authorities across a range of jurisdictions in order to obtain resolutions for her clients, with her most recent experience in the Gulf States. She has supported SMEs to large corporate multinational groups with VAT implementation in the Gulf, together with post implementation compliance, advisory and tax authority support.

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Michael Brady is a lawyer in KPMG’s tax disputes team. Formerly a criminal defence barrister, Michael has been working in tax litigation for the past 10 years, with a particular focus on financial services and property.

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David Graham has spent all of his professional career in HMRC in the world of VAT.  That has been in large business and in a variety of different sectors.  David started in retail and automotive and for the last few years has been working in the financial services sector, primarily on offshoring.  He has recently taken over as the Project Lead for VAT offshoring in large business.

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Will Prowse began his career working in the back office for a number of banks, before joining the Inland Revenue in 2003. After several years working in debt collection, Will made the move to Large Business and specifically VAT Compliance in 2010. Will currently works within an HMRC project team which deals with Partial Exemption and VAT grouping risks within the Finance sector.


Rhiannon Churchill has worked in VAT, mainly as the in-house VAT expert for a number of years at a number of different companies.  She is a past chair of the ICAEW VAT Committee, leading their response on a number of issues during her tenure.  She joined HMRC 4 years ago in Large Business, since which she has been the operational lead on supplies bought into the UK from overseas, working closely with policy on a number of issues and has been nominated for a number of internal awards for this work.  She has also held the operational lead for the Cost Sharing exemption working on a number of cases, including the UK interventions in ECJ cases such as Aviva and DNB Banka.


James Vernon is an Assistant Manager, specialising in Financial Services indirect tax, at KPMG. He advises clients on a variety of structuring, liability and other issues, with a particular focus on the banking sector. Prior to joining KPMG, James was called to the Bar in 2016, having passed his professional exams and gaining experience across financial services and commercial matters.


Alan Paterson is the Head of Indirect Tax at Standard Life Aberdeen based in Edinburgh. Alan is responsible for advisory and compliance matters for indirect taxes globally. Alan has over 15 years of experience in VAT/GST.  Alan previously worked for PwC in Edinburgh, London and Sydney focusing on financial services VAT/GST matters.  Alan is a member of the Investment Association and ICAS VAT Committees.

2019 Speakers

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This year's venue

We are happy to announce that this year's conference will once again be held at etc.venues Fenchurch Street.


etc. venues Fenchurch Street

8 Fenchurch Place