Cayman Finance welcomes government’s updated commitment to the UK on beneficial ownership 

Cayman's centralised beneficial ownership registry is maintained by government's General Registry.

Cayman Finance has welcomed Government’s updated commitment to the UK with respect to Cayman’s beneficial ownership framework.  

The 2019 commitment initially aimed to introduce fully publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership in all UK overseas territories by the end of 2023.  

However, the European Court of Justice, in November 2022, issued a judgment that declared unfettered public access to beneficial ownership information in Luxembourg and other EU member states was a disproportionate interference with the data protection and privacy rights guaranteed under the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

Similar rights are guaranteed under the Cayman Islands Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the Cayman Islands is a signatory. This makes the introduction of a fully accessible beneficial ownership register in the Cayman Islands constitutionally unsound.  

Cayman proactively advances beneficial ownership regime

The Ministry of Financial Services and Commerce has announced that, under its updated commitment to the UK, it plans to work with relevant stakeholders, during 2024, to introduce an enhanced beneficial ownership framework under the recently published Beneficial Ownership Transparency Act. 

This would allow access to beneficial ownership information only by members of the public who can demonstrate a legitimate interest in seeking the information to fight or prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.  

Cayman Finance CEO Steve McIntosh said that “Cayman Finance supports that any planned changes to the beneficial ownership register will strike the appropriate balance between a legitimate interest in beneficial ownership transparency and Cayman’s constitutionally protected data protection and privacy rights.”  

“Cayman Finance is in favour of adopting global standards and the implementation of a public register once it becomes the global standard,” McIntosh added.

“We are looking forward to consulting with the Government and our members to ensure the timely, effective and efficient implementation of the enhanced beneficial ownership framework.

In a press release the Ministry of Financial Services said Cayman will proactively advance its beneficial ownership framework in line with its updated 2019 commitment to the UK.

“We recognise that the UK continues to champion anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing efforts,” Financial Services Minister André Ebanks said. “As such, the Cayman Islands greatly values our partnership with the UK, along with our sister Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, to protect the global financial system and the public from criminality and illicit financial flows.”

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