Cayman Finance has supported the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) in its announcement of the signing of an agreement by the UK and the Cayman Islands on enhancements to its existing beneficial ownership system.
The announcement was made at a media conference in Grand Cayman by the Cayman Islands Premier Hon Alden McLaughlin and chief officer, Dr Dax Basdeo.
Jude Scott, Cayman Finance chief executive officer, said Cayman Finance appreciated working in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government to bring a high level of expertise to negotiations with the UK.
He said: “We are pleased the UK Government has recognised that our licensed corporate services provider verified beneficial ownership system is a world class system that provides for due diligence know-your-customer checks that are critical to proper law enforcement authorities conducting legitimate investigations and is superior to other proposed systems.
“Whilst there are already agreements in place that allow UK law enforcement agencies to request and obtain beneficial ownership information for the Cayman Islands, we have agreed to an enhancement to that system which will help the UK law enforcement agencies access that information with the utmost urgency, but in a way that is also appropriate for our jurisdiction. This is not a public central register.”
Scott also said that beneficial ownership information details will remain with the corporate service providers managing them and information will be accessed via a central technical platform.
“The enhancements are in line with global standards and the UK’s own position,” he said. “The terms of this agreement are essentially business as usual for Cayman, the agreement offers a path forward that builds on the work Cayman has been doing for decades, while continuing to support the important economic role we play in the global economy.”
Scott also said that the agreed enhancements to this system will ensure proper authorities conducting legitimate investigations can quickly identify all companies that a particular beneficial owner has a stake in without needing multiple requests and that those owners not be alerted to the existence of an investigation.
He added that the agreement was a significant step in recognising that Cayman was not a secrecy jurisdiction but a premier global financial hub that efficiently connected law abiding users and providers of capital and financing around the world, benefitting both developed and developing countries by enabling their competitiveness in global trade and facilitating international investment into their domestic economies that helped them grow and create jobs.
The UK prime minister, David Cameron, announced that all crown dependencies and British overseas territories had formally agreed to disclose information relating to the beneficial ownership of companies with two exceptions: Guernsey and Anguilla, although they were expected to soon.
Cameron also acknowledged the many steps already taken by the British overseas territories to implement international automatic exchange of tax information protocols, such as the OECD Common Reporting Standard, and to adopt high standards with regard to transparency.
Cayman Finance, Cayman Islands Government, Beneficial ownership system, Jude Scott, David Cameron, UK, Cayman Islands