On 31 October, the UK announced a proposal for a public register
of beneficial ownership information, following the results of its
public consultation. If implemented, the register conceivably would
allow a citizen of any country to access information on the
beneficial owners of UK-registered entities.
In the Cayman Islands, we also are assessing our regime on
beneficial ownership. In our action plan on the misuse of companies
and other legal structures, published immediately following the
June G8 Summit, we committed to assess whether a central registry
of beneficial ownership is the most appropriate and effective way
to improve transparency. Further to that commitment, our public
consultation document will be issued this November.
Along with our consultation, we will continue to monitor the
global response to the UK's announcement and any proposals that
are made by other G8 countries, the G20 and other relevant
international bodies on matters related to transparency. Universal
success will be predicated on a fair, and level, playing field in
which all jurisdictions adhere to accepted and recognised
As evidenced in our April 2013 Phase 2 Peer Review Report by the
OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for
Tax Purposes, information relating to beneficial owners is
available in Cayman. Through our recognised legal and regulatory
infrastructure, that information has been collected and updated in
the jurisdiction for more than a decade.
The UK's proposal to consider a public register on
beneficial ownership continues the UK's strong political stance
on tax and transparency matters and expands the public discourse on
the best way to facilitate a global standard.
The Cayman Islands will continue to engage in the discussion,
and to support the UK and the global financial industry in
developing effective standards. Our record demonstrates this; for
example, we will shortly be signing a FATCA-style agreement with
the UK to automatically share financial information with the UK on
UK taxpayers who hold Cayman Islands accounts. Our signing of a
FATCA Model 1 IGA with US also is imminent. Furthermore, following
the Cayman Islands formal request for the UK to extend its
membership in the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in
Tax Matters, the convention will become effective in Cayman on 1
In April this year we agreed to participate in the G5 pilot on
multilateral automatic exchange of information. To date, Cayman
also has signed tax information exchange agreements with 31
jurisdictions, and negotiations are either completed, or underway,
with a further 18 jurisdictions.
As the global discussion on beneficial ownership continues, we
note that our legislative and regulatory framework has been
assessed favourably by several supranational bodies, and that this
is a matter of public record. The Cayman Islands intends to stay
the course that has led to this high regard, and we will continue
to both consider and adopt standards that are practiced
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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