Bermuda has taken several steps over the last year to strengthen anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations to meet international transparency standards.

The British Overseas Territory is also broadening its beneficial ownership regime as required by Bermuda’s signing of the UK Exchange of Notes Agreement in 2016, which aims to facilitate exchanges of beneficial ownership data and the development of a central registry.

Additional Obligations

The new regime introduces no new concepts but it does place additional regulatory obligations on companies and partnerships registered in Bermuda to conduct due diligence on and disclose information about their beneficial owners.

Bermuda’s definition of a beneficial owner is an individual or individuals who own or control more than 25 per cent of a company’s shares, voting rights or interests. If no such individuals can be identified, individuals who control a company by other means must be identified.

Notifying changes

Additional reporting requirements oblige companies to file and notify any changes to beneficial ownership information to the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA).

Currently, beneficial ownership information is only disclosed to the BMA at the time of incorporation of a company or formation of a limited liability company or partnership.

Failure to comply with the new beneficial ownership regulations may result in a fine of up to US$5,000 while knowingly providing false information to the BMA could attract a fine of up to US$50,000.