Beneficial ownership registry talks ongoing


The Cayman Islands government and the governments of other overseas territories remain in talks with the UK on the issue of the proposed creation of a public central register of beneficial owners of companies.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced plans to create a public, central registry of information on beneficial ownership in the UK. Since then, pressure has started to be applied to the country’s overseas territories to do the same.

The issue was apparently raised during the Pre-Joint Ministerial Council, which took place in Cayman in July.

But talks are reportedly ongoing and the issue was not specifically mentioned in a statement released by leaders who took part in the event.

The full Joint Ministerial Council Meeting (JMC) will be held in December 2014 in London.

Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds said during a visit to the Cayman Islands last year that such a move would ultimately be a local decision.

In June, it was announced in the Queen’s Speech that the UK government will bring forward legislation to introduce a central public register of beneficial ownership data.

And in March, the European Parliament approved a recommendation from two of its committees to enact legislation that would create public registers listing online the beneficial owners of all European Union companies and trusts. The recommendations go further than what was proposed by the EU Commission and the UK government by including the beneficial owners of trusts.

In the Cayman Islands, several business leaders and representational bodies including the Chamber of Commerce and the Law Society have rejected the proposals citing privacy rights and a lack of universal application as the main hurdles.

Commenting on the issue last month, Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton said Cayman will adhere to international standards, provided there is a “level playing field.”

Cayman, Wayne Panton, David Cameron, Europe

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