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Cayman Islands allows four days to comment on company beneficial owner registry plan

Monday, 5 December, 2016

The Cayman government has opened a brief consultation (open until 9 December) on its plan for a centralised register of company beneficial ownership information.

The Caymans' current beneficial ownership information regime requires licenced corporate service providers (CSPs) to collect and maintain the information and make it available to the authorities under prescribed circumstances. However, pressure from the UK authorities has led Cayman to develop a means of centralising this information, so that it can be delivered to foreign authorities rapidly in response to a request.

'Central register' vs 'centralised access'

The Cayman proposal makes a careful distinction between a 'central register' and 'centralised access'. Under the new proposal, regulated entities in Cayman will still only be obliged to maintain their own beneficial ownership register. However, they will not have to submit it to the government: instead, these separate registers will be accessed from a central point within government. 'The difference between central access and central filing is a key distinction in the proposed system', says the consultation paper. The technology to be adopted, especially its security aspects, is one of the key consultation questions.

Cayman's centralised platform

The new consultation paper states that this 'centralised platform' will be authorised by amendments to the Companies Law in January 2017. However, it will not be opened to the public 'until that becomes the accepted and implemented international standard'.

If approved by Cayman's Legislative Assembly, the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2017 will allow the 'centralised platform' to be implemented by 30 June 2017, in accordance with Cayman's agreement with the UK.

Consultation open until 9 December

The paper is dated 30 November, though it does not appear to have become widely available until at least 2 December. The consultation officially ends this Friday (9 December), but there will be a further formal 21-day consultation period after the bill is published in the Official Gazette. The text of the bill is already available but it has not yet been gazetted.

Sources