In these days of grinding austerity it is a brave man who stands up to plead for sympathy for the mega-rich and their advisers.

Ashley Crossley, head of the Europe and Middle East wealth management group at Baker & McKenzie, the global law firm, spoke to delegates at a conference devoted to cash – how to keep it and what to do with it. He warned the moneybags community that come the end of this year 95 governments had agreed to start exchanging financial information about their taxpayers.

The days of strolling into a wood-panelled office in Geneva and presenting the discreet banker with a suitcase of banknotes are over.

“I’ve no problem with this professionally” Crossley told the gathering as they quaffed champers under the gaze of the Renaissance-era paintings at the National Gallery in London.

“There’s a widespread awareness among governments globally of the need to balance the books. However, we see an increasing burden being placed administratively on the financial services industry to furnish the growing amounts of information which will be required.”

Hearts will bleed.

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