Concerns over beneficial owners registry plans


Government ministers had the chance to express concerns over the potential implementation of a public central register of beneficial owners of companies and other entities to a delegation of visitors from the UK this month.

The UK government delegation visited the Cayman Islands to promote the virtues of a public central register. But it also allowed for a two way dialogue in which concerns were expressed, Wayne Panton, minister for financial services, told the Finance Committee of the Legislative Assembly.

The team from the UK included representatives of the Treasury, customs, the Metropolitan Police and a government advisory group. They spent three days in Cayman to meet with the ministry, members of the private sector, the attorney general’s office’s anti-money laundering unit and the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

“The net result was that they gained a much better understanding of the issues that are relevant to Cayman and the concerns that we have,” Panton said. “The purpose was not to resolve issues but to communicate perspectives.”

Late last year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to create a publicly accessible central registry of information on beneficial ownership in the UK and called on other countries to follow suit.

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.

In the Cayman Islands, several influential 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.

The Law Society noted that Cayman is already compliant with international tax and financial information reporting standards.

Cayman, International, Wayne Panton

Cayman Funds