Mass commitment for British Overseas Territories in the opening of beneficial ownership registers

With the introduction of the Sanctions and Money Laundering Act 2018, the UK government committed to issue a draft Order in Council before the end of 2020 to enforce the set-up of publicly available beneficial ownership (BOs) registers in all Overseas Territories (OTs).

With such Order, the government aims to make the registers a global norm by 2023 in order to remove possible competitive disadvantages that would have emerged through a non-uniform approach.

Up to date, eight OTs (Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Montserrat, the Pitcairn Islands and St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha, and the Turks and Caicos Islands) agreed to enact the order and by implementing publicly accessible registers containing details of BOs of businesses registered in their jurisdiction.

“This decision represents a further step towards a regime of full disclosure and transparency, which is not limited anymore to European jurisdictions. To meet the 2023 deadline will be a considerable challenge for many OTs as at the moment they have no similar structure to rely on.” declared Barbara Demergazzi, Capital Trustees’ compliance specialist