The BVI has announced amendments to its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime in order to ensure continued compliance with developing international standards on transparency and AML regimes. Amendments to the legislation have recently been published (Code of Practice and Regulations) and the proposed changes are to take effect on 1 January 2016. The changes have the most impact on the eligible introducer regime (in particular, where a BVI registered agent relies on third party introducers to obtain and verify the identity of the client).
In short, the changes require certain beneficial ownership information to be held and kept up to date by registered agents in the BVI, a process which has been labelled the "on shoring of beneficial ownership information." However, the eligible introducer arrangements will continue to allow the detailed customer due diligence materials (copy passports, etc.) to be held by third party introducers provided they are made available on request and without delay.
From 1 January 2016, registered agents will be required to obtain and to retain the following beneficial owner information for all new companies registered in the BVI:
- Date of Birth;
- Residential address;
The requirement will also apply to existing companies, but there will be a 12 month transitional period concluding on 31 December 2016 during which the information must be provided to the registered agent.
A further change to be implemented as part of the BVI's evaluation of the Revised FATF Recommendations is a requirement for BVI companies to file details of their directors at the Registry of Corporate Affairs. The details of the directors will not be available to the public unless, as is the case now, the company elects for the filing to be public. Again, this change is to take effect from 1 January 2016 for new companies and there will be a 12 month transitional period for existing companies.
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.