Cayman details alternative to open beneficial owners register

| 26/02/2016 | 4 Comments
CNS Business

Dr Peter Hayes, Director of the FCO’s Overseas Territories Directorate (courtesy Montserrat Reporter)

(CNS Business): Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton has been in discussions with UK officials about alternatives to the controversial central public register of beneficial ownership that will still meet the British government’s transparency requirements for its territories. Panton updated representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) who visited the Cayman Islands on Tuesday about progress his ministry is making “to enhance Cayman’s current beneficial ownership information regime”, officials said.

A working group was established by the ministry last September, which included representatives from government, Cayman Finance and other industry associations, as well as Cayman Finance. The group has been working to ensure that Cayman’s regime will continue to meet internationally accepted standards, according to a government release.

As part of discussions, the Ministry  This process is being facilitated through a working group established by the Ministry in September of last year.  Comprising representatives from Government, Cayman Finance and other industry associations, this group has been working to ensure that Cayman’s regime will continue to meet internationally accepted standards.

Panton met with with Dr Peter Hayes, Director of the FCO’s Overseas Territories Directorate, and Russell Phillips, the FCO’s Senior Policy Adviser, Economic and Financial Services. He said the the day’s meetings further familiarised them with the strengths of Cayman’s existing legislative and regulatory framework, and allowed the building of new relationships between Cayman and UK officials.

“We had an opportunity to explain in more detail the merits and potential mechanics of our proposed centralised platform, which would be locally accessed and non-public,” the minister said. “This would be an additional enhancement to our current, strong anti-money-laundering regime and would be a similarly effective, viable alternative to the UK’s approach of a central register. It was excellent to hear the UK’s support for how Cayman’s government and industry work together in order to tackle global problems, such as money laundering and corruption.”

However, Hayes was more circumspect about the British government’s support, saying only that the FCO and the territories agreed at the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) in London last December that addressing this issue “would be given the highest priority”.

“We very much welcome the timely and constructive discussions,” he added, without stating whether or not the British government was likely to embrace the Cayman Islands’ plans on how the details of the real beneficial owners of offshore entities domiciled here would be accessible and to whom.

While the issue of beneficial ownership continues to be a major area of disagreement between Britain and its territories, the delegation also included a senior representative from the UK’s National Crime Agency, who came to discuss cooperation between both countries’ law enforcement agencies.

Andy Lewis, the NCA’s Head of Bribery, Corruption and Sanctions, met with the premier on the issue but very little about the meeting was given away.

“Government continues to maintain a position of zero tolerance on illicit activity and financial crime,” Premier Alden McLaughlin said. “Our commitment to the UK, and to other foreign authorities, is to collaborate and cooperate to ensure that those responsible for illicit activity can be prosecuted in the relevant jurisdictions.”

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Category: Finance, Financial Crime, Financial Services

Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands Registry ought to have a public access online portal, where, for a nominal fee, anyone from anywhere can, at minimum, ascertain the existence, type, status, and registered office of all Cayman Islands companies purporting to be doing business around the planet. We already post the struck-off register free of charge. The BVI and Bahamas charge USD$10 per company to immediately look up the existence, status, and registered office of their jurisdiction’s companies whether paid up, struck, or dissolved. If we did the same, it would generate revenue while demonstrating a willingness to become more transparent.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have read my copy of their manifesto and I can’t identify what you are referring to? Really what matters are you referring to? It seems to me the relevant people are those in financial industry and they seem to be involved so dont know what you talkin bout.

  3. Anonymous says:

    When is Cayman going to realise this is not something that can be negotiated?

  4. House Lion says:

    What happen to public consultations about such important matters as promised in the PPM manifesto?? ??? Just like the rest of the lies they preached to get elected. Remember Mother know best, could we at least get all the money we spent of Tempura back Please?

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