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Beneficial ownership registers

19 June 2019

The governments of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are today jointly announcing a series of steps regarding each jurisdiction’s central register of beneficial ownership information of companies and how they will move towards developing international standards of accessibility and transparency in the coming years.

The three jurisdictions have a long track record of high standards which are effective in helping to tackle financial crime and countering the financing of terrorism, and all three actively support the development of global standards of transparency.  

The commitment announced today will increase further transparency and accessibility, while maintaining high standards of accurate, up-to-date, verified information. It sets out three clear stages which are consistent with the EU’s approach to transparency of beneficial ownership data of companies under the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (‘the EU Directive’) within a deliverable timeframe. 

The stages are:

  • the interconnection of the islands’ registers of beneficial ownership of companies with those within the EU for access by law enforcement authorities and Financial Intelligence Units; then
  • access for financial service businesses and certain other prescribed businesses for corporate due diligence purposes; then
  • public access aligned to the approach taken in the EU Directive

Jersey's External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said: “Jersey is proud to be among global leaders in matters of tax cooperation, transparency and in combatting money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.  The commitments we are announcing today, alongside Guernsey and the Isle of Man, will help to ensure that this leadership role is maintained, while taking into account the standards being developed within Europe. 

"We hope to encourage other jurisdictions to raise their own standards, particularly in relation to the verification of data and the regulation of the financial services sector.”

Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Gavin St Pier, said: “Guernsey has stated repeatedly that we would move to a public register of beneficial ownership as that becomes an international norm.  We are publishing a detailed action plan to demonstrate how Guernsey will respond to global developments in regard to beneficial ownership over the next couple of years. It will also help understanding of our commitments and approach.

"The action plan also reinforces our message that it is for Guernsey to determine its own policy position.  We will never compromise the high standard of our register, which is populated by verified up-to-date data, by the adoption of an inferior model.   Our action plan will ensure that our register and corporate regulation continues set a standard for larger jurisdictions to follow.”

Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, Howard Quayle MHK, said: “The Isle of Man has a longstanding, and independently verified, track record of meeting international standards.  EU Member States' implementation of Public Registers creates a clear direction of travel.  It is in all our strategic interests and our standing as responsible jurisdictions to commit to further developing the accessibility and transparency of our register of beneficial ownership for companies. The EU’s review in 2022 gives us the opportunity to follow best practice and implement a register that meets the principles of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive.”

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