UK-Cayman sign deal on beneficial ownership

| 11/04/2016 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): After almost three years of talks, the UK and Cayman governments have signed a deal on the framework outlining how the information on the beneficial owners of offshore entities will be given to the British authorities. For now, Cayman has avoided the need for a public central register and has persuaded the UK to accept a centralised platform of access where the information on who really owns what remains with the relevant financial institutions but can be more easily accessed by enforcement agencies.

At a press conference Monday, the deal was announced by Premier Alden McLaughlin and Dax Basdeo, the chief officer in the financial services ministry, in the absence of Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, who is overseas at an insurance industry conference. The local revelation came shortly after UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced deals with the British oversea territories and crown dependencies in the House of Commons.

While agreements have been reached with most of the UK’s dependent territories, they are not identical but have been tailored to meet the specific business specialties of each territory.

The premier said that following months of discussions, the agreement on the enhanced sharing of beneficial ownership information adds to the number of commitments that Cayman has already made in the global fight against serious crime.

“This agreement is reciprocal and holds the UK to the same standards in cases where our law enforcement officials may need information on companies incorporated in the UK. This agreement confirms that the Cayman Islands will implement, as we have said for some time, a central platform that will allow designated Cayman Islands officials to directly obtain and provide details of beneficial ownership of companies incorporated in Cayman to the UK, as required by law and treaty. As previously indicated, this is not a central registry, as beneficial ownership details will remain with the service providers managing them, but rather information will be accessed via a central technical platform,” he said in a statement.

McLaughlin emphasised that the information will not be public and the UK have, after long discussions, accepted that.

Cayman News Service

Premier Alden McLaughlin and Financial Services Chief Officer Dax Basdeo at press conference on beneficial ownership agreement

“Cayman’s beneficial ownership regime initially was not understood by our colleagues in the United Kingdom, particularly in light of their preference that we adopt a public central register. While we always remained clear and consistent in our position during the ongoing discussions, and especially during meetings of the Joint Ministerial Council, it was not until there were several visits to Cayman by UK ministers and officials – some at our own request – that they appreciated that our regime already did what they are trying to do,” he said.

The premier added the planned enhancements to the regime were appropriate for Cayman and in line with global standards. “I am glad and proud that our perseverance has finally paid off,” McLaughlin said.

Over the next twelve months or so Cayman must make changes to legislation and complete the details of how the new regime and protocols will work, as well as the technology to provide the access platform. However, the deal secures the UK’s approval of the framework and, at least for now, avoids the public exposure of all of the beneficial owners that have offshore accounts, companies, trusts, funds or other financial vehicles domiciled in Cayman.

Related article: Deal won’t end push for public owners register

Premier’s statement on enhanced sharing of beneficial ownership information, 11 April 2016

Chief Officer Dax Basdeo’s statement on enhanced sharing of beneficial ownership information, 11 April 2016

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Category: Finance, Financial Services, Uncategorized

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