Cayman Finance Statement on UK’s Draft Order on Beneficial Ownership

Cayman Finance issued the following statement by CEO Jude Scott about the UK’s action to draft, but not enact, an Order in Council requiring Overseas Territories to establish public registers of beneficial ownership (PRBO) information:

“The UK’s decision reflects a strong confidence in the Cayman Islands financial services industry’s dedication to transparency and emerging global standards like public registers of beneficial ownership. A draft Order in Council was required by law, but the UK’s certainty that the Cayman Islands, and the other OT’s, are on track to meet their commitments obviated any reason to enact it.

“For global investors, the practical effect of the UK’s action today is that our jurisdiction’s existing verified beneficial ownership regime with its ongoing improvements will remain in effect until the Cayman Islands Government implements an enhanced system in 2023 in line with evolving global standards as it previously committed to do. That is excellent news for investors as well as tax and law enforcement authorities because our existing beneficial ownership regime, which has relied on verified rather than self-reported information for nearly 20 years, is one of the most effective in the world.

“The Cayman Islands financial services industry will continue to collaborate with the Cayman Islands Government to establish this new public register of beneficial ownership, which will reflect the unique nature of our industry while providing information broadly equivalent to that required under the UK’s own Companies Act. The strong partnership between industry and government in the Cayman Islands will result in a new regime that provides transparency while maintaining the substantive advantages of investing in our jurisdiction: tax neutrality, world-class professionals and an effective and experienced legal regime.

“Cayman’s commitment to the emerging global standard of registers of beneficial ownership is yet another demonstration of our leadership on transparency and cross-border information sharing – a commitment that has been recognised by independent global bodies again and again. The OECD has given the Cayman Islands its second highest rating for transparency – the same rating given to the UK, Germany and others – and the European Union just announced its assessment of our jurisdiction as cooperative on transparency and tax good governance principles.

“Cayman Finance appreciates the leadership provided by the Cayman Islands Government to represent our jurisdiction and to reflect the priorities of our industry in this process. We look forward to communicating to industry leaders further progress on the establishment of a new public register of beneficial ownership over the upcoming years.

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