Government Issues Beneficial Ownership Report

The Cayman Islands Government today issued a report stating that it will continue its current method of providing beneficial ownership information to law enforcement, tax and regulatory authorities, as the method adheres to global standards.

As explained in its Consultation Report on Maintenance of Legal and Beneficial Ownership Information,Government’s decision was based in part upon responses from local and international companies, individuals, and non-governmental organisations, given during a public consultative period held from 15 November 2013 to 28 February 2014. The consultation was conducted by the Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce.

In the report, Government notes that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations outline three avenues by which a country can comply with the global availability of information standard.

Minister of Financial Services and Commerce, Wayne Panton, said the UK is now taking steps to adhere with the standard via one of these avenues, by consolidating information into a central register; and that the UK has been in discussion with its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories regarding whether central registers should be implemented in their jurisdictions as well. 

However, Minister Panton noted that Cayman has been adhering to the global standard for more than a decade, by providing this information to law enforcement, tax and regulatory authorities from data collected, verified and maintained by licensed and regulated corporate service providers.

‘Both of these methods are acceptable under the FATF Recommendations’, Minister Panton said.

Government’s report also notes that although they are global in nature, the FATF Recommendations allow jurisdictional flexibility – not in the intended outcome of the recommendations, but in how that outcome is achieved.

Furthermore, Cayman’s CSP regime adheres to the core set of principles in the G20’s High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency, which was issued in November this year.

For these reasons, Government states in its report: ‘Until such time as there is global agreement on appropriate exemptions and safeguards, and this becomes the internationally practiced standard, the Cayman Islands will continue to follow its CSP regime’.

Also in the report, Government outlines steps that it will take to further strengthen Cayman’s framework through enhanced accuracy, access, availability and monitoring/enforcement of ownership information.