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Crown dependencies announce next steps on beneficial ownership

Crown dependencies announce next steps on beneficial ow

The Governments of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man set out their stance on the future registers of the beneficial ownership of companies.


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On 19 June 2019, the Governments of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man set out their stance on the future registers of the beneficial ownership of companies. This stance will be informed by the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive, which broadly calls for public access to the beneficial ownership of companies as well as the current position of access for relevant government agencies and law enforcement.  The Crown Dependencies’ announcement and Guernsey’s Beneficial Ownership Action Plan can be found in the links below:

The Crown Dependencies expect to act together in three stages as follows:

  1. As already committed, the interconnection of the islands’ registers of beneficial ownership of companies with those within the EU for access by law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units. Based on Guernsey's Beneficial Ownership Action Plan, this is expected to happen during 2021; then
  2. Access for financial service businesses and certain other prescribed businesses for corporate due diligence purposes. This is expected to happen as soon as reasonably practicable following the interconnection on 1) and before the end of 2022 (based on Guernsey's Beneficial Ownership Action Plan). This is contingent on other jurisdictions having the necessary infrastructure to facilitate 1); then
  3. Consideration of allowing public access, aligned to the approach taken by the EU. Based on Guernsey's Beneficial Ownership Action Plan, this will be considered within 12 months following the final outcome of the EUs implementation of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive in January 2022, taking a lead from the EU principles to determine what level to allow of public access to some beneficial ownership information.

It is important to understand (from the Guernsey Beneficial Ownership Action Plan) that public access to a register appears to be contingent on Europe’s members states and the UK adopting similar levels or transparency and maintaining beneficial ownerships of a high standard equivalent to that of the registers maintained by the Crown Dependencies. This will include consideration of how the EU and UK have moved in the regulation of company formation agents. It should also be noted that the Fifth Money Laundering Directive does contain a carve out from public information sharing for individuals who are at disproportionate risk (e.g. kidnapping, extortion, violence etc.) and leaves it to local jurisdictions to legislate in that regard.

How can KPMG help?

With strong presence and experienced professionals in each of the 3 Crown dependencies we are well positioned to provide assistance and advice to those in need of guidance in respect of these potential changes. The local contacts to the right would be happy to assist. Alternatively, you may speak with your usual KPMG contact.

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