I am pleased to ask industry, clients and the general public for their input regarding beneficial ownership of Cayman Islands-registered companies. Simply put, the purpose of this consultation is to ensure appropriate transparency in our business environment – in other words, it is to ensure that we have appropriate mechanisms to effectively maintain information on who owns and controls Cayman-registered companies, and that this information is readily available to appropriate authorities.
Transparency is important, on a local and global scale, because it is a means to mitigate financial crimes. It protects investors, as well as public revenue. Transparency also generates public trust in the integrity of our systems, and increases confidence in the stability of our jurisdiction.
This consultation covers sections 2 and 3; and section 6 of the Cayman Islands Action Plan to Prevent the Misuse of Companies and Legal Arrangements, which is further explained in this document's appendix.
Not all aspects of the action plan require public consultation at this time. However, it is essential that Government hears your opinions on the sections listed above, because the outcomes could affect our financial services providers, and every person who has a company – whether resident, non-resident, exempt, or foreign – that is registered in the Cayman Islands. I therefore strongly encourage industry, and the owners of Cayman-registered businesses, to provide feedback.
To members of the general public, I note that while you may not have a Cayman-registered business, you nevertheless benefit from the government services that are provided with the public revenue that these companies generate. Therefore, your voice also is important.
Regarding the action plan, Government released it on 18 June 2013, in response to initiatives stemming from the UK-chaired G8 Summit. The plan commits Cayman to a review of our financial services regime, to ensure that business conducted in our Islands continues to meet international standards on combating money laundering, and the financing of terrorism and proliferation.
While Cayman's robust response to such financial crimes has been recognised by third-party global bodies such as the Financial Stability Board and the Financial Action Task Force, we will continue to evaluate further proposed changes in light of the intended benefits to law enforcement and tax authorities, the costs of implementation, and the potential impact on our competitive position.
Again, this is why your input is important. Our commitment to consult with industry, clients and the public strongly indicates the current Government administration's position regarding maintaining and wherever possible, enhancing, the strength of our business environment.
We recognise Cayman's role as a global business centre, and our responsibility to act in a manner that supports internationally accepted standards, as well as promoting a level playing field across all jurisdictions. Inventive criminals make it necessary for all countries involved in global business, including Cayman, to ensure that they do not provide safe havens for any kind of illegal activity.
On behalf of my Government colleagues, I sincerely thank you for your input on this consultation. We look forward to receiving your submission by Friday, 31 January 2014.
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