UK MPs Discuss OT Public Register Law Again

January 29, 2019

British MPs continue to discuss the plans to enforce legislation passed in British Parliament to order Overseas Territories  to make their beneficial ownership registers public, with the latest discussion occurring on January 28th.

Over the past few months there appears to have been a substantial increase in discussions about the Overseas Territories in the UK Parliament, as the British politicians seek to change the law pertaining to registers in the islands, including Bermuda.

A beneficial ownership register is a database of information on business owners, and the Bermuda’s Government’s long standing position has been that they maintain registers, provide information to official entities at request and will make the registers public when it becomes world standard.

While the vast majority of nations worldwide do not make theirs public, the UK has since 2016,  and they have passed a law which will allow them to order the Overseas Territories to provide public registers by 2023, which has been called an act of colonialism by some of the islands’ leaders.

london-parliament generic 3r23

Labour MP Margaret Hodge asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, “What reasonable assistance his Department plans to give to the Overseas Territories to support the implementation of public registers of beneficial ownership in accordance with section 51 of the 2018 Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act.”

In response, the Minister of State Alan Duncan said, “The FCO is working in conjunction with several other Government Departments and Overseas Territories [OTs] to determine what assistance would be most useful.

“As you are aware, the Minister of State Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon announced at the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council that OT-UK technical workshops would be provided from spring 2019 to provide support.

“The Government will also consider what financial support it will provide for territories which are eligible for Official Development Assistance.”

Labour MP Margaret Hodge then asked, “For what reason 2023 has been established as the new deadline for the creation of public registers of beneficial ownership in the Overseas Territories.”

In response, the Minister of State Alan Duncan said, “The Government will prepare draft legislation by the end of 2020, as required by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

“The Overseas Territories [OTs] will be expected to have public registers in place by the end of 2023 in line with the UK Government’s global campaign to make public registers the global norm by then.

“It is important that the OTs with financial centres meet international standards on tax transparency and anti-money laundering. Most OTs are either currently being or due to be evaluated by the Financial Action Task Force and are also working to deliver their commitments to the EU Commission to prevent them being included on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.”

Labour MP Margaret Hodge  then asked about the technical workshops to be held with the Overseas Territories for the establishment of public registers of beneficial ownership, and the Minister of State Alan Duncan replied, “The FCO is working with other Government Departments to determine the possible date, location and topics that should be included in the technical workshops.

“Prior to the first technical workshop, the FCO will consult all of the Overseas Territories to find out what topics they would find it useful to cover. This should ensure that the sessions are appropriately designed.

“For the workshops themselves, we will aim to provide expertise from a range of Departments and Executive Agencies; including Companies House, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for International Development and the Home Office.”

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Comments (9)

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  1. eyes wide open says:

    The days of the plp government are numbered.

    • Angus says:

      You do realise that this begs the obvious question of independence? Also if it is a PLP Government that is forced to raise this topic (independence) then it is fuel going into a second term for them. Bermudians will rally against colonialisation, just as the Britain has rallied together against EU legalisation being forced on them.

  2. Kathy says:

    Let us clarify further, Bernews!

    In the UK, from 30 June 2016, a private company can CHOOSE to send information usually kept in all or any certain statutory registers to the registrar of companies to be kept on the public register at Companies House. … The public register is open for anyone to inspect and take copies of information.

    I am not in favour of independence for Bermuda, but forcing Bermuda to comply with a law that the rest of the world, including the USA and the UK who are some of the largest tax havens in the world, do not have to comply with by 2023 would swing my vote towards independence from the UK.

    Under NO circumstances should the Government of Bermuda agree to opening Bermuda’s beneficial registers to the public BEFORE 100% of the remaining countries around the world agree to do so.

  3. The Future says:

    Here we go, @Eyeswideshut – how does a UK Parliamentary initiative equate to the PLP’s days being numbered?

    I am starting to believe that people in Bermuda actually seriously think Bermuda is another world and insulated from the real world.

    To bring you ups to speed on the past 15 years

    - FATF recommendations/AML Regime (no more client coming off a cruise ship, approx 2001)

    - US Qualified Intermediary (QI) tax regime, you would have filled out a W8 BEN at some point, even if you are Bermudian, to prove you are not a US tax payer

    - FATCA (should I even bother explaining how this has nothing to do with the PLP)

    - Automatic Exchange of Information (and Tax Information Exchange Agreements) which the PLP and OBA had no choice but to sign to meet the criteria of being a co-operating jurisdiction

    - Economic Substance requirements for all companies incorporated here in Bermuda

    -Beneficial Ownership Registers (again, how are the PLP responsible for this again………?

    Are we in election cycle again? The anti-PLP trolls are hard at work (sorry hard at play)


  4. swing voter says:

    clowns! don’t you have more pressing issues to address? Your EU clock is ticking down and you focus on stupid!

  5. Charlly X says:

    Well said !