A consortium of Caribbean countries led by the Cayman Islands has rebuffed attempts to force them to establish a publicly accessible registry of private companies' beneficial owners.
The rejection of the idea was delivered by the territories' finance ministers at a Joint Ministerial Council meeting at the start of December. It was a direct response to a request by the UK to commit to the registry plan.
Cayman Islands’ Premier Alden McLaughlin and Finance Minister Wayne Panton represented the Cayman Islands. McLaughlin later told parliament they had remained firm and restated their position.
That position is that any move to public registries must be implemented by the G20 countries first.
“I am pleased to say that so far the overseas territories and crown dependencies stand united on this issue,” he said.
As things stand, Cayman Islands companies already record beneficial ownership information and make it available to the proper authorities. There is no publicly available central registry, however.
The business community on the Cayman Islands is against the idea of a public registry and believe it could harm the islands’ financial services sector.
None of the G20 countries have a public registry, and apart from the UK, none is likely to implement one.
“Unless such registers become the new global standard and are being used by all major players – including the UK – then neither we nor any other OT or CD intend to go first and have our economies experimented with and potentially damaged,” he said.
His stance has been welcomed by business groups including the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.
Cayman, Alden McLaughlin, Wayne Panton, Europe