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Guernsey, Jersey & Isle of Man to open up beneficial ownership registers

The governments of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man (collectively the Crown Dependencies) have jointly announced 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 commitment 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 (5MLD) 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 during 2021; then
  • access for financial service businesses and certain other prescribed businesses for corporate due diligence purposes before the end of 2022; then
  • public access aligned to the approach taken in the EU Directive in 2023.

Guernsey Chief Minister, 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 to set a standard for larger jurisdictions to follow."

Jersey 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 whilst 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."

Isle of Man Chief Minister 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 develop 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 5MLD."

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