December 1998

Anguilla's Commercial Online Registration Network, the ACORN system, went live on 16th November 1998. In line with a programme of phased implementation, licensed company managers and trust companies in Anguilla and their approved overseas agents can now incorporate electronically International Business Companies (IBC's), Ordinary Companies, Limited Liability Companies and Limited Partnerships under Anguilla's corporate and partnership legislation. In addition users of the system can transact all other registry activities and submit all other documents electronically, which the legislation either requires or allows companies to do.

The ACORN system is an electronic Companies Registry system and details of the system are attached to this press release.

As part of the above programme, amendments have already been introduced to the IBC Ordinance and to the Companies Ordinance both to widen the scope of the legislation and to make Anguilla more attractive as an offshore centre. Amendments to the LLC and Limited Partnership legislation are currently being reviewed.

Additionally, Financial Services Department has reviewed the Government fee schedule for the incorporation of IBC's and has made in particular two significant amendments:

The first is to introduce a standard incorporation fee of US$250 for the incorporation of an IBC, irrespective of the level of authorized capital.

The second is to reduce the Government fee to US$100 for the continuation of companies into Anguilla from other jurisdictions and in addition those companies with authorised capital of less than US$50,000 will be able to recoup this fee through a reduction of US$100 in their first annual fee.

Both the above reductions apply only to documents submitted electronically.

As part of the process, a CD-ROM will become available at the end of February 1999 to prospective overseas agents as a user guide to ACORN.


What is ACORN ?

ACORN is a state of the art companies registry system developed by Anguilla with financial assistance from the UK Government. It allows Ordinary Companies, International Business Companies, Limited Liability Companies and Limited Partnerships to be incorporated and registered in Anguilla electronically through the Internet. Companies can be incorporated instantly 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from anywhere in the world. In addition to company registrations, ACORN also enables all other corporate registration activities, which are either required or permitted under the appropriate company legislation, to be undertaken online. The system is available to all licensed practitioners within Anguilla and to their overseas agents. Overseas agents are required to register with the Financial Services Department of the Government of Anguilla in order to access the Registry's services directly. There is no charge for becoming a registered agent or for access to the system.

What does the system do ?

The system allows users to do electronically all that is currently done or can be done in paper form with the Anguilla Companies Registry. Registered users will be provided with software that enables them to have a secure digital encrypted access to the system, supplemented by individual user password controls.


The ACORN menu presents a user friendly list of administrative functions, name search and name reservation and the three types of corporate vehicle plus limited partnerships mentioned above, The administrative functions permit:

  • To establish user password control
  • To view all fee
  • To do full company searches
  • To view announcements
  • To view the legislation particular to a document being submitted or to an activity being undertaken at any time
  • To obtain help with respect to any function of the system at any time
  • To retain incomplete documents in a separate pending file.

Name Search

Name search can be done alphabetically, phonetically or on a keyword basis. The system tells you immediately whether the name is free, not free or reserved. The name may then be either reserved for a period of 10 days without cost or for a longer period with the payment of the relevant government fee. Alternatively, the name of the company may simply be incorporated directly. If the user wishes to reserve a name, the system produces a reference name reservation document. The system allows multiple searches and reservations (initially up to 20 names) and the names of companies and their articles can also be incorporated instantly in foreign languages.


For incorporations the user selects one of the types of company or partnership available and the system takes the user through the incorporation process by a system of boxes to be completed or drop down boxes with options. Standard sets of articles of incorporation can be pre-established in the system for use with incorporations. Once completed the screen provides the user with a completed registration document for checking and final submission. On submission, the certificate of incorporation appears immediately on screen and can be printed out. The whole registration process is simple to follow and quick to complete.

A sub menu for each of the corporate vehicles and limited partnerships is also available. This lists all documents and registry activities which the relative corporate legislation either permits or requires the registered company to file.

In each case the system takes the user through each process with a help button and a legislation reference button available at all times.

Other Registry Activities

All other activities that companies are required or can do under the legislation can be carried out through the ACORN system. In the case of IBCs, for example, this would include, among other activities, submission of articles of amendment, articles of consolidation, application for restoration to the register, optional registration of directors and submission of the annual return.

How to register as an overseas agent ?

An overseas agent will be a person or firm who incorporates companies offshore on behalf of clients. In order to demonstrate the ACORN system, a CD-ROM will be available as a user guide to the system. In the first instance the overseas agent needs to establish a commercial agency agreement with an Anguillian licensed practitioner. Details of all licensed practitioners in Anguilla are available on the website or from Financial Services Department. The reason for the requirement for a commercial agreement with a licensed firm in Anguilla is that every company registered is required to have the registered office situated in Anguilla. The Anguilla agent also needs to be satisfied as to the fit and proper qualities of the overseas agent and the overseas agent is additionally required to become registered with the Financial Services Department by means of a simple application. This is available on the website under the heading 'Register as an Overseas Agent'.

How does an agent pay for registry activity ?

All agents, local and overseas, will need to credit ACORN through the Government of Anguilla from time to time with a sum of money appropriate to the volume of business, which the agent anticipates undertaking. There is no specified minimum or maximum amount. An overseas agent can do this directly or in conjunction with his agent in Anguilla. In either case the system will, when an activity is undertaken, show on screen the cost of that transaction and the balance of account available.

Each cost or fee can be routinely checked with the fees applicable to that activity shown under the menu item 'Enquiries' Each fee is exactly the same as prescribed under the various pieces of company legislation.


The ACORN system offers a number of advantages over non-electronic registration systems, including:

  • An interactive approach, which is both user friendly and easy to understand
  • Identification of mistakes at the input stage and provision of relevant guidance
  • Provision of checks for the user at crucial stages of the input process
  • Instantaneous response to all documents submitted
  • Absence of restrictions on where the incorporation and submission of documents may be made
  • Increased efficiency as ACORN allows the user to do all activities done in paper form electronically and in a fraction of the time
  • Provision of a seamless method to incorporate companies offshore
  • A facility to incorporate companies and submit articles in foreign languages
  • Administration of companies in a fast, cost effective and easy to use manner.
  • 10. Regulatory control to ensure that users of the system are fit and proper

Anguilla Financial Services

Anguilla is one of Britain's Overseas Territories and has had a broad based financial services industry for a number of years. It prides itself on good legislation, good regulation and professional standards of service covering a range of financial services. It is in addition a zero tax jurisdiction, thus offering an attractive location for financial services professionals to base themselves

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.

For further information please contact:

Director of Financial Services
Registrar of Companies

Government of Anguilla
Financial Services Department
The Secretariat
The Valley

Tel No:  001 242 497 5881 / 001 242 497 3881
Fax No:  001 242 497 5872
E-Mail:   Click Contact Link 
Website:  Click Contact Link