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Bermuda's beneficial ownership register now in full operation

Thursday, 2 May, 2019

Bermuda's postponed deadline for legal entities to declare their beneficial ownership has now been passed.

Companies, limited liability companies and partnerships were required to submit the information to the Bermuda Monetary Authority's Integra secure online registration and filing system by 30 April. The relevant legislation, enacted in 2018, initially set a deadline of 23 March 2018. This was subsequently deferred to December 2018, later to February 2019, and then to April.

Beneficial owners are any individual or individuals who directly or indirectly own or control more than 25 per cent of the shares, voting rights or interests in a company or who control a company by other means. If no such person can be identified, the company's senior managers will be regarded as beneficial owners.

Certain entities and their subsidiaries are exempt. These include companies listed on an approved stock exchange; closed-ended investment vehicles managed or administered by designated Bermuda licensed service providers; overseas companies with a branch office in Bermuda; and financial institutions licensed to carry on regulated activities in, or from, Bermuda.

'The extension of the transition period for updating and verifying beneficial ownership information provides breathing space to Bermuda companies and partnerships and their beneficial owners to check and confirm their approach', says Ashley Fife TEP of Carey Olsen Bermuda. 'Guidance published in respect of Bermuda's beneficial ownership legislation may provide an aide to some extent, but provides no defence to non-compliance with the beneficial ownership legislation itself'.

The minimum required information to be submitted for individuals includes full name, residential address, nationality, date of birth; and the nature and extent of their interest in the company or partnership.

The information on the central register will not be publicly available under the current arrangements, and there is no indication that Bermuda's parliament will enact legislation to make such registers publicly available, unless and until public beneficial ownership registers become a global standard.