The UK and its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies had planned to have beneficial ownership registries in place by 1 July 2017.

But there have been delays, several of the jurisdictions are resisting the pressure to have the requisite type of register in place, and the UK has not yet passed legislation to require them to establish publicly accessible beneficial ownership registries.

Guernsey delays

Delays in the States of Guernsey have been blamed on a recent general election, and the subsequent reshuffle of the Privy Council, the body that approves island laws.

The delay in Guernsey is unlikely to be severe, and the 1 July 2017 was a deadline agreed with the UK and no other jurisdiction.

Reluctant islands

Jersey expressed its concerns in April in an open letter to the UK urging it to reject proposed amendments to the UK’s Criminal Finances Bill 2017 under which the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories must establish publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership by 2019.

The bill was subsequently passed and has come into force, but without the requirement for public accessibility to the beneficial ownership registers, although this matter could be reviewed in the future.

Tax information

The UK has a publicly accessible beneficial ownership register, but specialist financial, tax and business services operations in the Crown Dependencies – Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man – still hope that their islands will not be forced to make beneficial ownership publicly available.

Both the Overseas Territories – Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and Gibraltar – and the Crown Dependencies have agreed to exchange of tax information with the UK.