Guernsey: Beneficial Ownership Register In Guernsey: An Overview

In line with developing international standards in transparency and law enforcement, Guernsey has introduced a centralised register of the beneficial ownership of Guernsey legal persons.

In this note, we provide a practical overview of the beneficial ownership register (the "BO Register"), including what it will seek to achieve, who will be affected by its introduction, what information it will contain and how it will operate. A further briefing note will provide a more detailed analysis on the question of how to identify the beneficial owners whose details need to be registered.

Speed Read

  • A centralised register of beneficial ownership is being introduced from 15 August 2017
  • Guernsey companies, LLPs and foundations will need to register details of beneficial owners. Listed companies, GFSC regulated funds and GFSC licensees are exempt.
  • Information on the register will not be available to the public but can be disclosed to appropriate law enforcement, regulatory and tax authorities.
  • Broadly similar to regimes being introduced in Jersey, Isle of Man, BVI and Cayman Islands.


Guernsey laws and regulations have, since 2001, required details of beneficial owners of legal persons to be collected and maintained. However, until now that information has been held on the island by certain designated persons and/or regulated businesses, and has not been collated in a central register.

In recent years there have been a number of international initiatives to improve access to beneficial ownership information, both onshore and offshore, including the EU's Fourth Money Laundering Directive, recommendations and guidance published by FATF and principles agreed amongst the G20. In line with Guernsey's ongoing commitment to international standards, and as part of a co-ordinated move taken by the UK, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies, Guernsey has amended its regime so that beneficial ownership information will be held in a centralised, but not public, register.

The regime for the BO Register was introduced by the Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons (Guernsey) Law, 2017 (the "BO Law") and will come into force on 15 August 2017.

What is the purpose of the BO Register?

The BO Register is designed to ensure that Guernsey authorities have timely access to adequate, accurate and current information on beneficial owners of Guernsey legal persons.

The BO Register will not be publicly accessible, has enhanced security features and can only be accessed by a small number of designated persons at the Guernsey Registry, GFSC and Guernsey Financial Intelligence Service.

Other persons (in Guernsey or elsewhere) can ask for disclosure of information contained on the BO Register regarding identified persons, but any such request can only be made for a permitted purpose. Those purposes effectively limit disclosure to local and foreign law nforcement agencies, intelligence services, financial services regulators and tax authorities.

Under the existing regime, such information has been accessible to the Guernsey law enforcement authorities and the GFSC, and they in turn have a long-standing record of co-operating with overseas law enforcement agencies and tax authorities to disclose information when appropriate to do so. However, the addition of the centralised register will mean that the information can be accessed much more quickly than previously. In addition, the authorities will be able to access information on the BO Register without the subject of any investigation being aware that their information has been reviewed.

Which types of Guernsey legal person are subject to the BO Register?

The BO Register relates to the following types of legal person (each a "relevant legal person"):

  • All types of Guernsey incorporated companies
  • Guernsey registered limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
  • Guernsey registered foundations

Under the existing regime, certain types of companies and LLPs are deemed to be sufficiently transparent as a result of other regulatory requirements, so that they do not also need to comply with the beneficial ownership regime. These include:

  • Companies listed on a recognised stock exchange
  • Companies / LLPs regulated by the GFSC as investment schemes
  • Companies licensed by the GFSC under Guernsey regulatory laws
  • Trading companies operated by the States of Guernsey

Such entities will be exempt from the BO Register, for the same reason. The States of Guernsey may in due course issue regulations specifying that certain classes of foundation are exempt from the BO Register.

The BO Register will not be a register of beneficial ownership of trusts.

Who is obliged to register information on the BO Register?

The obligation to provide information to the BO Register falls upon the resident agent of the relevant legal person. The resident agent may be a Guernsey resident person connected with the relevant legal person, or a Guernsey regulated corporate services provider.

In order to enable the resident agent to fulfil its obligations, the resident agent is empowered to require certain persons to provide specified information in relation to beneficial ownership (as listed below). Beneficial owners (and persons who have information about beneficial owners) are obliged to provide information in response to any such request. Beneficial owners are also obliged to volunteer information in certain circumstances.

What information will need to be submitted to the BO Register?

The following items of information (the "required particulars") are to be registered in respect of each beneficial owner of a relevant legal person:

  • Name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Principal residential address
  • The date on which the beneficial owner became a beneficial owner (if after 15 August 2017)
  • The grounds on which the beneficial owner is considered to be a beneficial owner

When does the BO Register come into effect?

The BO Register becomes active on 15 August 2017. Beneficial ownership information will need to be submitted in relation to any new companies, LLPs or foundations to be established on or after that date (unless they are exempt).

Companies, LLPs and foundations which are already in existence on 15 August 2017 can submit beneficial ownership information from that date, and will need to have done so prior to submission of the next annual validation or annual renewal (28 February 2018 for companies, and 30 June 2018 for LLPs and foundations).

Thereafter, the BO Register must be kept updated with changes to beneficial ownership information, and confirmed as at the filing of each annual validation or annual renewal.

How will this affect me?

The effect of the BO Register will vary for different groups of persons:

International clients and intermediaries using Guernsey structures

Clients and intermediaries will notice very little change following the introduction of the BO Register.

Such persons are already required to provide beneficial ownership information for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, or as a result of the existing beneficial ownership regime. It may be necessary to provide some additional information, and clients may be asked annually to confirm the continued accuracy of the information provided.

Guernsey-based administrators, company secretaries, etc.

Guernsey firms administering Guernsey companies, limited liability partnerships or foundations will need to adjust their procedures so as to ensure that beneficial ownership information is registered on the BO Register at the required time.

The GFSC will be monitoring compliance with the BO Law as part of its ongoing supervision of regulated businesses in the island.

Whilst such firms will already be collecting and maintaining much of the required information in relation to structures that they administer, they will now need to undertake the following additional tasks in relation to entities of which they are the resident agent:

  • Analysing the ownership structure to correctly identify the beneficial owners whose details need to be registered
  • Establishing procedures designed to ensure that when the firm is aware of a change (or possible change) in the beneficial owners or their required particulars, updated information can be requested from beneficial owners and submitted within the statutory timeframes
  • Ensuring that beneficial ownership information is confirmed annually in connection with the submission of annual validations and annual renewal filings
  • Making online registrations of beneficial ownership information and retaining records of such filings

Guernsey-based users of Guernsey legal persons

Guernsey residents who use and operate Guernsey companies without engaging the services of a regulated administration firm (for example, self-administered local trading companies and property holding vehicles, etc.) will need to familiarise themselves with the new regime and the person who is the resident agent will need to make the necessary submissions to the BO Register within the statutory timeframes.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
24 Jan 2018, Conference, St Peter Port, Guernsey

In association with the Guernsey Training Agency, we are pleased to offer a unique, interactive event that will explore the role of integrity in the modern employment relationship, with a particular focus on the financial services sector.

20 Feb 2018, Conference, St Helier, Jersey

Carey Olsen partner Marcus Pallot is speaking at the 2nd Annual International Taxation Conference held on 20 February and organised by the Jersey International Business School.

28 Feb 2018, Speaking Engagement, St Helier, Jersey

Carey Olsen partners Tim Corfield and Marcus Pallot are speaking at the Jersey International Business School's Accountancy CPD 2018 Seminar on 28 February.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions