Jersey delays beneficial ownership registry launch until 2021

Thursday, 26 November 2020
Jersey has delayed implementation of its Financial Services (Disclosure and Provision of Information) (Jersey) Law 2020 (the Law) from 1 December to 6 January 2021.
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The postponement will give companies and foundations more time to adapt to the new process, which enacts the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendation 24 relating to the beneficial ownership of legal persons.

The corresponding filing deadline for the new annual company beneficial ownership confirmation statement has been deferred from 28 February 2021 to 30 April 2021.

The Law was adopted on 14 July 2020 and registered on 23 October 2020, but the initially planned commencement date of 1 October 2020 was criticised by the industry as giving insufficient notice in the current circumstances. The Jersey Financial Services Commission (JSFC) accordingly agreed to push back the launch date of its new registry to 1 December 2020, and has now decided to delay that by a further month.

In reality, says law firm Appleby, the law will have a minimal impact on Jersey's industry, as the jurisdiction already has a central register to which companies are obliged to report their beneficial owners, significant persons, nominee shareholders and related information. Beneficial ownership information is not made public, and the Law will not change that.

However, says Appleby, there will be an impact upon foundations incorporated under the Foundations (Jersey) Law 2009. Currently, a charter's regulations remain a private document not available for public inspection, but the Law amends this to require the filing of 'abridged regulations', as recommended by FATF. These abridged regulations are not required to contain any information from which a person can be identified.

The delayed deadline of 30 April 2021 is presumed to also apply to the filing of abridged regulations for existing foundations and, in the meantime, guidance is expected from the JFSC on exactly what information should be included.

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