UK to force BOTs to make BO registers public

| 01/05/2018 | 66 Comments
British Overseas Territories, Cayman News Service

Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas

(CNS): The Cayman Islands and other British Overseas Territories will be forced to make the beneficial owners of companies registered in their jurisdictions public after a cross-party amendment to a Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill was accepted by the UK government Tuesday. In a significant blow to the BOT’s financial service sectors, they will be required to develop publicly accessible registers by the end of 2020. While Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said he would have preferred to reach a consensus rather than force the territories to act, the UK government had listened to members of Parliament.

However, the move to mandate that BOT registers will be public does not apply to the crown dependencies. This will be an issue that the Cayman Islands government and other BOT leaders as well as those working in the sector will seize on as an illustration of the hypocrisy and unfairness that they consistently level at the onshore world on this issue.

During today’s debate Duncan claimed the UK Conservative party had hoped to reach a compromise on the issue but the number of MPs supporting the push for more transparency in what are still seen as tax havens would have led to a defeat of the entire bill. Support for the amendment to force the hand of BOTs with financial sectors came from both government and opposition benches.

Duncan admitted that legislating for the BOTs without consent disenfranchises the elected representatives and may “risk damaging our long-standing constitutional arrangements, which respect their autonomy.” But pointing to the strength of feeling in the Commons, the minister said the British government accepted “that it is without a doubt the majority view of this House that the overseas territories should have public registers, ahead of it becoming international standard.”

Although not unexpected for the Cayman Islands government and the offshore sector, officials had hoped to delay the inevitability of public registers until this was a standard around the world. Premier Alden McLaughlin and Finance Minister Tara Rivers have been on a charm offensive since last year to head off the push to make the BOTs what has been described by some as the ‘guinea pigs’, putting the financial sector business at risk.

The governor’s office released a short comment Monday about the news, stating the British government would now do its best to promote open registers as the new global standard.

“The UK will use its best endeavours, diplomatically and with international partners, including through multilateral fora such as the G20, FATF and the OECD, to promote public registers of company beneficial ownership as the global standard,” a spokesperson for the office said today.

“There have been continued efforts over a number of years by members of Parliament and special interest groups to lobby in favour of requiring the UK Government to legislate for the overseas territories to put in place public registers of beneficial ownership,” the spokesperson added, explaining the circumstances that led to the Conservative government’s decision to accept the amendment during the parliamentary debate today.

“The UK Government’s preference would have been to work consensually with the elected overseas territory governments on moving incrementally towards public registers. However we have to recognise the strength of feeling in Parliament on this issue. An amendment was tabled to include the CDs but this was withdrawn following the debate in the House of Commons,” the office stated.

CNS has contacted the financial services ministry and the premier’s office and we are expecting a statement shortly.

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (66)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How can we stay owned by the UK, when the DART Company owns us?




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Well said




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Independence? Give it a rest. So once we’ve handed in our BOT passports then what? Oh I see you want independence but to keep your passports, gotcha.




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  4. Tut alors!. says:

    What a godsenfd if this reveals all the ill gotten gains of our politicians. It’s not only foreigners who launder proceeds from criminal enterprises here.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    All of those howling for independence. Do you all really even understand what that means for Cayman? The loss of a very protective cover? The perceived loss of stability by investors and the global economic community? Look at the countries the UK ruled and gave up that have fallen into chaos with so much internal conflict. Granted some of them were not that great to begin with but there are too few examples where the UK leaving has been a good thing and way too many examples of it being a bad thing.

    Look at Jamaica, they decided to leave the realm and have they truthfully benefited? Even Scotland decided to remain and they have an actually blood filled history with England. Someone should list all the pro’s and con’s of staying and leaving. We have no standing military of any kind. We enjoy the comfort of benefits being associated with the crown gives us.

    This act of the register being published that everyone is booing. If you have nothing to hide, if you follow the rules then this register will do you no harm and will show the world we have nothing to hide and that we believe in transparent, clean and lawful business. Is it really the publishing of this register that is the source of the problem? Or is it the fact we are being told to do so? How will your life change at the end of the day at the publishing of information you can already find out through the freedom of information act? IMO this should have been done long ago an we probably wouldn’t have the “den of thieves” stigma that we do now.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh stop it. Jamaica is full of the same freemasons that the UK is.
      Freemasonry transcends politics at all levels.
      These people are all on the same page.
      There is no such thing as a non-masonic controlled government.
      People don’t want to accept it, but I cannot do anything about that. Just press in for the facts and avoid the lies.
      If the mainstream press reported on this, they would be neutralized in a heartbeat.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Independence fear mongering has started ?




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Great, now that information can be sold so people’s children can be kidnapped. Leave it to worthless bureaucrats to destroy any economy.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Or taxes be paid, or judgments enforced, or corruption frustrated and exposed. Just sayin’.




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      • Anonymous says:

        point *a single* drug dealer or money launderer or tax evader caught due to FATCA and other economic destroying policies have actually done except screwing the honest people over? Look at what we have to go through now to open and manage a single bank account or get a loan or God forbid make a deposit!! That’s what bureaucrats do! XXXXX




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  7. Sound Frank says:

    This won’t destroy the financial industry here at all, but it may dent it temporarily. On the plus side it will help clean out many small-time exempt / non-res companies set up by small-time individuals want the secrecy, and a few of the larger players who might one day hit the press and bring the islands into disrepute. But it won’t affect the corporates and other legit entities bringing their business here.

    It will knock a hole in the incomes of law offices as they will lose a % of the many client companies that they act as registered office for, but they will have to put up with that. Let’s face it that particular cash cow was always a little seedy wasn’t it guys? Time to clean up and man up.

    Quite apart from that, the legislation would have to be pretty slickly written for anti-avoidance. I suspect there will be get-arounds found.

    Overall I believe it will be good for the Islands in the long term.




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    • Anonymous says:

      This is $110mln in recurring annual CIG revenue we’re talking about. That’s over twice the annual revenue from tourism (including cruise ship arrivals). The flight of good business has already begun. This will affect all of us in some way or another.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    We need to rid ourselves of the UK before they completely destroy us..They do absolutely nothing for us…Why do we need them?? This decree to rule by force should be the last straw…Stand up Cayman and fight!




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  9. Anonymous says:

    Some of us have been encouraging discussions of independence for some time now.

    This type of pressurised chaos is precisely the set of circumstances we DO NOT want to be under as we chart that path forward.
    It only gives the UK the upper hand and leaves us on the back foot.

    History has proven time and again that the UK is not to be trusted, ESPECIALLY considering the makeup of the people of the Cayman Islands.

    *Pay close attention to who was hung out to dry compared to who was warmly welcomed inside.

    By now we should all understand; there are Brits, and then there are Brits.
    (Yep, as pathetic as it is, this is the reality of the British empire in the year 2018.
    Just ask the Windrushers’ – they’ll tell you a story or two.)

    The potential of this development should not be underestimated, however, come what may, Cayman will be just fine.

    – Who




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    • Anonymous says:

      Moron




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    • Anonymous says:

      How has stepping out from under the UK helped Jamaica again? Independence is great but are we TRULY ready for all the responsibility it entails? Our government can’t handle/run effectively under them now. Can you imagine when that safety net is removed?




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      • Anonymous says:

        Zusss kryste!!

        You dinosaurs with the “Jamaica” bogeyman scare tactic.

        Do you not understand how long ago was 1962?? Especially in terms of economic and industrial advances in the last 20 years alone?

        Tell me, are you posting from a smart-phone or conch-shell?

        Kindly upgrade your mindset before continuing to contribute to this thread.

        – Whodatis

        *Sorry, you may actually mean will with your concerns, but honestly, we will never move forward if we remain imprisoned by tired rhetoric and sentiments.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    The UK is imposing direct rule. This could ruin us even without implementation. This is imperialism and colonialism at its best…It is time for us to tell the UK we no longer need them…They exempt the crown dependencies and the city of London but want to to impose it on us….

    Its time to talk independence! They do nothing for us except send us a Governor and staff that we have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to have cocktail parties..Send their asses packing!




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    • Anonymous says:

      even talking about independence would kill this economy…..
      you really want to give total control to the likes of whogene, mac, miller, mclean, jon-jon, bryan…etc?????




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      • Anonymous says:

        (Y)our economy is finished. Caymanians are tired of supporting your important asses. We would rather go back to a simpler way of life. Please find another place to pillage.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Those permits and companies you disparage, including coercive revenue, represent over $900mln of annual CIG receivables (those cruise ships and air arrivals bring in a paltry $40-50mln/yr). By sending its dumbest negotiators, Cayman is now looking down the barrel of default and bankruptcy. The UK will gladly divorce itself from the train wreck of Cayman’s creation, especially when the true liability of the unfunded public pension and healthcare surfaces. Sadly, there is no simpler life for Caymanians in that scenario, and you can blame your half-wit politicians for that.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Bye, let us know how it works out when the world closes its doors on you. Obama started this, and you still don’t get it do you?
      It’s over, no more gravy train.




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    • Rick says:

      Agreed time for Cayman to go Independant . Cyamn depends to much on the UK and Expats




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  11. Anonymous says:

    But I thought we had already signed up for a beneficiary register that was meant to be up and running last year, or has this incompetent government failed in that and that is why it is being imposed




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    • Anonymous says:

      But were not supposed to be made public. Now registers have been or are in the process of being submitted on a confidential basis, it is now announced they are to be made public. Owners of companies local and otherwise registered here have been fooled. Next what? Corporate tax? Lots of liquidations and strike offs from Cayman? Just what UK wants.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    Time for us to seek independence form these A-Holes! I say bring on a referendum and let us decide..They do jack for us anyway..




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  13. Anonymous says:

    There is no need to be concerned. The courts would strike down any such legislation rammed down our throats without the UK itself also subscribing to the same rules. Lawyer up Alden. David Pannick Q.C. would be a good place to start.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Selling Government House to raise the funds for any court action and letting the Governor live in Rock Hole or Dog City seems an appropriate first step…..




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  14. brad says:

    Headlines:

    “THE BEGINNING DEMISE OF CAYMAN’S FINANCIAL INDUSTRY!”

    I wonder what is the response of Premier Alden McLaughlin, seeing now our great banking clients personal information is to be seen by the “special interest” in the UK and Europe.

    I wonder what Minister Tara Rivers is saying.

    I wonder how many born Caymanians know how significant this event is, and are they prepared to vote for leaders who will take the country into Independence if all else fails.

    Remember … long time ago. The doomsday clan were one time crying that we better not break away from Jamaica. The same in the UK, fearmongerers crying they better not go independence from the EU. Yet the UK is still standing. What about Cayman. Unfortunately, we will have to break from the UK or the UK break us.

    CNS better not be one of the news entities against Independence because they and all other entities will be against the wrong side of history. CNS hopefully will be on that politicians side who will have to makw the most unfortunate decision in our history.

    Will that leader be the now Primier???




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  15. BC says:

    Go figure a bunch of ignorant MPs in the UK took an action with not a tinge of concern for our economic well being. I already see the jokes about the Kidnap & Extorsion registries. No one should be surprised about this outcome though. Let’s take a step back -The reality is the large bulk of our financial services business is institutional and it isn’t going to pick up and bolt because of this issue. It would be different if we were a private client jurisdiction, but we aren’t and we will come out of this one ahead as usual to the dismay of Transparency International and Oxfam. They will have to now find a reason other than Cayman for why onshore jurisdictions are broke. In the end capital moves to where it’s best treated and is most efficient.




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  16. Anthony says:

    This is going to be devastating for our financial Industry. Privacy is a part of our human rights. The UK is not protecting her BOT’S. The time has come to either accept what the UK wants and that is to destroy our financial Industry or to move away and keep our bread and butter on the table. Simple!!




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps this calls for another moment of silence and flags at half mast for recovery efforts over in BVI and Nevis. They’re &@#ed now.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    After the past few weeks in British politics, when Labour has been shown to be an antisemitic cesspit and Tories have been exposed over the Windrush debacle, this latest episode of outright, barefaced racism and colonialism is depressing but entirely predictable.




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  19. anonymous says:

    Goodbye to the offshore industries/fund registration/incorporation/jobs/financial services in Cayman, BVI, Bermuda. Bermuda should have become Canadian when it had the chance.




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  20. Anonymous says:

    It’s clear that independence is the only way to protect our interests.

    Cayman’s leaders better have a comprehensive plan and pr strategy to challenge this decision in European Court of Justice. The Channel Islands were not included which speaks volumes about the attitude towards BOT’s.

    The U.K. cannot be trusted to protect Cayman’s interests. All the BOT’s have been double crossed by the PM Teresa May’s Conservative Government.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Until we honour and uphold all parts of our constitution we’ll never get independence. With crime on the upswing and growing disrespect for the RCIPS good luck with independence bid any time soon.




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    • Anonymous says:

      People need to get educated before they speak….
      The UK parliament has NO legal power to force these measures on the Channel Islands. Those territories have very complex and independent relationships with the UK.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    Unless this becomes a universal global standard by 2020, then good luck. Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights and enshrined in many other international and regional treaties. Privacy underpins human dignity and other key values such as freedom of association and freedom of speech. The Right to Privacy shouldn’t be trivialized so long as it complies with taxes and laws. Our register is already compliant with both, which begs the question, what is the legal basis for a public register? Do public skepticism and mob curiosity supersede these fundamental rights? Strange times.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Wish you and Jude Scott could have gone talk to the idiots in the UK instead of the politicians named in this article.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed. It is no one’s business what someone else owns. Will Barclays in the UK be willing to publish the name of all deposit holders in their bank?

      Should I be able to find out from some central point what my Cayman neighbor owns (cars, bank accounts, investments, education savings plans….). It is the same principle.

      Because some bad actors use Cayman, US, Canadian companies, does that mean everyone else has to give up the right to privacy?

      Will never happen. Mark my words X 10.




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      • Anonymous says:

        It is in the pubic interest to fight fraud, tax evasion, judgment avoidance and corruption. Public registers permit that public interest to be protected.




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        • Anonymous says:

          I’m glad you brought that up…the only public members in the business of collecting taxes are mafia and K&R extortionists. Revenue agencies of government around the world already have automatic exchange agreements and full transparency to UBOs and tax payers. A public register only benefits those already corrupted by curiosity or greed.




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    • Anonymous says:

      For f**k sake there is no international enforcement agency, hence international law is broken on a daily basis. You can quote the UN standard all you like, if the G-8/G-20 countries demand public registers you can be certain the UK will pressure us to enact the legislation.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Nicely put




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  22. Anonymous says:

    Que Who’s incessant whining, can’t wait for this to be linked to white supremacy as well




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    • Anonymous says:

      Jersey, Guernsey are not being subjected to the same standards. I wonder why that is?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Nah bro – I’ma let you tell it … as you clearly are.

      Ask yourself; what made you think and pen the words above?
      Truth and nothing but the truth, perhaps?

      – Who




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  23. Juniper says:

    The kids of death for the Cayman Islands




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  24. POLITRICKS 101 says:

    So much for all those positive trips Alden and Tara took to London to negotiate a positive result and show them what Cayman is all about. The U.K. just played them like fiddles.

    The hypocrisy of the U.K. is shocking.
    Welcoming the amendment, Lib Dem Tom Brake said: “These people and their money are not welcome in the UK and must not be given sanctuary in our cities.”

    Ignoring the fact that London has been “Moscow West” for some little while now.




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    • Anonymous says:

      The irony is that this was hatched out of the mistaken assumption that Moscovites and Oligarchs obscure ownership of their “London real estate” via BOT offshore nominee companies and shareholders. Understandably, they seek to identify and seize that property as part of ongoing sanctions. Unfortunately, it’s likely registered via nominees in jurisdictions elsewhere since Cayman and other BOTs have, for a long time, been uncomfortably transparent for criminal enterprise.




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  25. Anonymous says:

    Feeling sorry for friends that bought houses here.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh please. There is ZERO chance Cayman is going to make available the names of all investors in the 10,000 plus investment funds, captive insurance companies etc.

      It will never happen. We will see a carve out for any regulated financial services entity.

      For operating (or “shell”) companies, you will see nominee shareholders with true “equity” holders participating as a noteholder or some other non-shareholder.

      All of this is childsplay for Cayman attorneys.




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