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APT Brief: Jersey’s public register of beneficial ownership of companies – no immediate action required

Thursday 20 June 2019
APT Brief: Jersey’s public register of beneficial ownership of companies – no immediate action required

Following a joint announcement by the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man relating to the public registers of beneficial ownership of companies, there has been a lot of press coverage and we wanted to provide a brief to outline the implications.

First and foremost, there are no immediate changes to the laws regarding beneficial ownership.

The 5th anti-money laundering directive (5AMLD) that was passed in 2018, comes into effect on 1st January 2020 and as part of that the EU is required to issue a report as to how it is to be implemented in 2022.

Jersey will review that report and then set a timeline for the implementation of any public beneficial ownership register.


Key points:

-       This commitment relates to ‘companies’ only

-       No immediate action is required


Derek Rhodes, Director said:

“Jersey, has a long-standing record of upholding high-standards. We believe that Jersey already has a better Beneficial Ownership Register than the UK, as it has been operational for over 30 years and the information on it is monitored, it is not available to the public and is only accessible to the Jersey enforcement authorities.  Furthermore, the UK Government accepts that the Beneficial Ownership Register in the UK is unmonitored.

“The current view seems to be that Jersey will only have a public Beneficial Ownership Register when there is a level playing field in Europe and not before 2023.”


Background

The governments of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have announced a collective commitment to bring forward legislative proposals, in line with developing EU standards, in relation to public registers of beneficial ownership of companies.

There are to be three clear stages, consistent with the EU’s approach to transparency of beneficial ownership data of companies under the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive (‘the EU Directive’). They are:

  • 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;
  • Access for financial service businesses and certain other prescribed businesses for corporate due diligence purposes;
  • Public access aligned to the approach taken in the EU Directive.

Jersey's External Relations Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said:

“Jersey is proud to be among global leaders in matters of tax cooperation, transparency and in combatting money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.  The commitments we are announcing today, alongside Guernsey and the Isle of Man, will help to ensure that this leadership role is maintained, while taking into account the standards being developed within Europe. 

"We hope to encourage other jurisdictions to raise their own standards, particularly in relation to the verification of data and the regulation of the financial services sector.”

Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Gavin St Pier, has gone further: “Guernsey has stated repeatedly that we would move to a public register of beneficial ownership as that becomes an international norm.”

https://www.gov.je/News/2019/Pages/BeneficialOwnership.aspx