The most radical reform of company law for more than half a century is set to further enhance the Isle of Man’s status as a leading centre for international business.

The Treasury-led initiative to streamline the whole process of how businesses can be set up and run on the Island will complement the Island’s zero tax regime and offer the Industry a bespoke corporate package geared to a fast moving 21st century global market. The Isle of Man already hosts more licensed Corporate Service and Trust Providers (CSP’s & TSP’s) than any other jurisdiction. Provisions contained in the new Companies Act 2006, which has just received Royal Assent, are expected to have broad appeal in the specialist offshore sector.

Fresh and innovative product

The first quarter alone of this year has already seen an increase of almost 40% in the number of incorporations under the Isle of Man’s 1931-2004 Companies Act (which will continue to exist alongside the 2006 Act). This indicates the Island’s attraction as a quality international business centre and provides a solid platform from which to launch the Isle of Man’s fresh and innovative corporate product.

John Aspden, Chief Executive of the Financial Supervision Commission, said the new company structure was specifically designed for offshore use while at the same time meeting key expectations in terms of disclosure and corporate governance.

Key elements include:

  • Greater flexibility of use;
  • Much reduced and simplified reporting;
  • Use of regulated corporate directors;
  • Increased focus on registered agents, a role performed by licensed CSPs, for the retention of company records;
  • Use in protected cell form and as a vehicle to easily re-domicile to or from the Island.

The provisions have been drawn up following extensive consultation with the finance industry. ILS, a world leader in the incorporation of companies and establishment of trusts, chose the Isle of Man some years ago as the base for its global activities. CEO Chris Eaton said it was clear the Island was now a serious player in the international business market. The Companies Act 2006 was among the ‘best of breed’ and would open up further significant opportunities for the industry.

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