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Jersey and Guernsey announce plans to publish beneficial ownership register

The register will show who owns which companies in the Channel Islands. Credit: PA Images

The private registers of who owns which companies in the Channel Islands are being made public.

It follows months of pressure from the UK, where politicians say it will help in tackling tax avoidance.

In March, more than 40 MPs supported an amendment which would have forced the Channel Islands to be more transparent when it comes to owns assets, but that debate was withdrawn.

Today Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have revealed how they plan to move towards making the register public.

The three phases are:

  • To interconnect the islands' registers of beneficial ownership of companies with those within the EU for access by law enforcement and Financial Intelligence Units.
  • To give access for financial service businesses and other businesses for due diligence purposes.
  • To give public access aligned to the approach taken in the EU directive.

The action plan reinforces our message that it is for Guernsey to determine its own policy position. We will never compromise the high standard of our register, which is populated by verified up to date data, by the adoption of an inferior model. Our action plan will ensure that our register and corporate regulation continues to set a standard for larger jurisdictions to follow.

– Deputy Gavin St Pier, Guernsey's Chief Minister

Jersey is proud to be among global leaders in matters of tax cooperation, transparency and in combating money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. The commitments we are announcing today, alongside Guernsey and the Isle of Man, will help to ensure that this leadership role is maintained whilst taking into account the standards being developed within Europe.

– Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey's External Relations Minister

Since the announcement, Jersey Finance has responded with the following statement:

This move is the result of ongoing engagement between the authorities in Jersey and counterparts in the other Crown Dependencies, the EU and the UK. The EU’s most recent directive on anti-money laundering sets out a timescale for Member States to adopt a common approach to establishing central, interconnected and ultimately public registers and there is a real sense that there is now a clear direction of travel towards an international standard.

As a cooperative jurisdiction and a good neighbour to the EU, Jersey shares the objective of tackling financial crime and has said all along that it would move on this issue in line with international standards.

Now is the right time to make this positive and strategically important move that will position Jersey well for the future.

– Joe Moynihan, Jersey Finance CEO

Following a series of meetings, the Chief Ministers of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man issued the following statement:

Our joint commitment was broadly welcomed by the parliamentarians we met with today and generally accepted as a proactive step to ensure that the Crown Dependencies remain among global leaders in matters of transparency and financial services regulation.

We had frank and constructive discussions about the implementation of the commitment and the indicative timetable we have outlined. We will continue to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, including local industry, UK parliamentarians, and European partners.

– Joint statement from Chief Ministers
  • WATCH: Gary Burgess explains beneficial ownership...

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