Bermuda has collected and maintained information concerning beneficial owners of Bermuda registered entities for over 70 years and the Bermuda Government committed to making beneficial ownership information public, when public beneficial ownership registers became a global, international standard. Further to a press statement on 12 July 2020, the Minister of Finance stated that the Bermuda Government plans to table legislation by January 2023, twelve months from the publication of the European Union fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive anticipated on 5 January 2022, to make the beneficial ownership register currently maintained by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, accessible to the public.
Currently, the beneficial ownership register is readily available to the relevant competent authorities and law enforcement can obtain beneficial ownership information from anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulated financial institutions, via production orders and other legal mechanisms, as prescribed in the relevant legislation, most notably the Proceeds of Crime Act 1997 and the Bermuda Monetary Authority Act 1986. Beneficial ownership information can be provided to overseas authorities through mutual legal assistance procedures.
The announcement by the Minister of Finance will open the beneficial ownership register to access by members of the public who have a legitimate interest in obtaining such information. Legislation anticipated to be tabled ahead of January 2023, will provide more clarity on how members of the public can access beneficial ownership information, when required. The full press release can be viewed here.
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