Durrant: Disclosure Standards Exceed The UK

April 7, 2016

Kimberley DurrantFinancial secrecy only exists where there is no register at all and “here in Bermuda, we operate to disclosure standards which have for decades far exceeded those of the UK itself,” said Kimberley Durrant, the UK Representative for Bermuda Government.

Ms Durrant’s comments follow after the Financial Times published an article about the Panama Papers in which they said, “Bermuda announced in 2014 that it would not agree to a public register, which it claimed would put it at a disadvantage to other offshore centres.”

Her letter — which was published in the Financial Times today — said, “Sir, In the article “David Cameron under pressure over father’s offshore fund” [April 5, 2016], your correspondent Vanessa Houlder notes that progress has been slow for the UK Government as it seeks to deter financial crime inter alia by encouraging British Overseas Territories to make their registers of beneficial ownership public.

“The reality of course is that financial secrecy only exists where there is no register at all, or one that is not properly maintained, as is the case in a number of offshore jurisdictions. By contrast, here in Bermuda, we operate to disclosure standards which have for decades far exceeded those of the UK itself.

“We hold central registers of beneficial ownership that are continuously updated and from which information is reliably shared with legitimate international authorities within 24 hours of request.

“Importantly, the ownership threshold at which we demand this information of 10% exceeds the 25% threshold provided in the global standards [the FATF Recommendations] and adopted by most countries.

“Bermuda has held such registers for some 70 years, one of the first countries in the world to do so, and it is a legitimate source of pride to our community.

“This explains why The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists does not list Bermuda in the graphs as one the principal jurisdictions involved on its Panama Papers, though the UK is itself named.

“Bermuda is compliant with US and UK anti-money laundering [AML] and anti-terrorist financing [ATF] requirements, and does not have bank-secrecy laws. We also rank more favourably than the UK in the most recent Financial Secrecy Index, published by the Tax Justice Network.

“It is important to note that Bermuda has a long track record of cooperation with international law enforcement and we have international tax information exchange relationships with over 90 countries.

“While your correspondent is therefore correct to report that Bermuda has been put under pressure by the UK Government, we suggest that a definite double standard exists as it relates to collecting and sharing of beneficial ownership information.

“The British Overseas Territories do not all operate to the same standards,” concluded Ms Durrant.

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Comments (7)

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  1. Vice Commodore Seven Seven Niner says:

    She can comment on my finances any day!

  2. Double M Quad Deuces says:

    People take note. I got my mate Mack G to review all my financial information and do up my pre nup. Can’t be to careful these days.

  3. Aware says:

    Well said

  4. Bermudian who cares says:

    Excellent article Kimber. Looks like a me your are taking the advise if the BDA and working hand-in-hand to protect our island. Thank you.

  5. Rene Clarke says:

    well said kim