Applying the global wealth chain typology to property purchases in the Liverpool and Merseyside Area

McKenzie, Rex, Atkinson, Rowland and Ingianni, Andrea (2023) Applying the global wealth chain typology to property purchases in the Liverpool and Merseyside Area. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, ISSN (print) 0308-518X (Epub Ahead of Print)


The wealth chain is a conceptualisation of extended flows of capital operating across multiple tax jurisdictions in order to extract maximum value from investment locations. To date, such chains have largely been considered in relation to either international tax-avoiding flows of capital to offshore havens or in relation to prime property markets in major metropoles. In this article, we use new data to explain the geographical variations in asset strategies and investment types associated with different types of wealth chain in a historically deprived city region. The data relate to the purchase of real estate in the Liverpool and Merseyside Area (LMA) of the UK by companies from offshore jurisdictions. We use data to empirically model the wealth-chain concept. We compare the results from our empirically derived model with the key theoretical propositions regarding such chains. Our results confirm the actions of identifiable types of wealth chain. By geographical distribution, the specific asset strategy that dominates suggests that wealth-chain offshore investors in Liverpool’s real estate are primarily motivated by their desire to protect their identities and their assets. In the literature on the subject, these are much sought after attributes of money launderers and others involved in illicit wealth accumulation. In money terms, the dominant asset strategy is situated in a much smaller geographical space in and around the city centre. In the literature, this type of wealth chain is associated with the multinational corporations who are, theoretically, the main source of innovation in wealth-chain operations.

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