The private registers of beneficial owners in the British crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are being made public.

The move follows months of pressure from the UK, where politicians say more transparent ownership details of companies in British overseas territories will help in tackling tax avoidance.

Government reluctance

In March, more than 40 members of the British parliament supported an amendment which would have forced the British offshore islands to be more transparent when it comes to who owns companies. The amendment was withdrawn by the government.

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

Three phases

First they will interconnect the islands’ registers of beneficial ownership of companies with those within the European Union (EU) for access by law enforcement and financial intelligence units.

They will then provide access for financial service businesses and other businesses for due diligence purposes.

A final move will see the islands provide public access to the registry aligned to the approach taken by the EU.