Mauritius: Law of Offshore
Table of Statutes
This is a non-exhaustive list of the main Mauritius statutes affecting offshore and non-resident business. The statutes are listed in alphabetical order – click on the statute for a fuller description of the statute, the legal regime it forms part of, or in some cases the text of the law.
Banking Act 1988
Banking Act 2005
Code de Commerce Amendment Act 1985
Codes on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing 2003
Companies Act 1984
Companies Act 2001
Electronic Transactions Bill (1999)
Financial Intelligence and Anti Money Laundering Act 2002
Financial Services Centre Act 1988
Financial Services Development Act 2001
Financial Services Act 2007
Finance Act 1996
Foreign Dealers Act 1994
Freeport Act 1992
Industrial Expansion Act 1993
International Companies Act 1994
Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2011
Mauritian Offshore Business Activities Act 1992
Merchant Shipping Act 1986
Offshore Business Activities (Companies) Regulations 1995
Offshore Insurance Regulations 1992
Offshore Trusts Act 1992
Securities Act 2005
Stock Exchange Act 1988
The Trusts Act 2001
The Financial Services Development (Amendment) Bill, the Securities Bill; and the Insurance Bill were passed by the National Assembly in March, 2005.
The 2005 Securities Act establishes a framework for the regulation of securities markets, market participants, self-regulatory organisations, and the offering and trading of securities to ensure fair, efficient and transparent securities market. It aims at striking an appropriate balance between the protection of investors, the interest of market makers and market participants and the financial system in general.
The main objective of the Financial Services Development (Amendment) Act 2005 is to further enhance the quality and effectiveness of financial regulation and supervision, by providing the FSC with the power to impose a wider range of administrative sanctions, including a public censure and an administrative penalty.
The Insurance Act 2005, meanwhile, provides for the implementation of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) Standards and Core Principles and focuses on specific regulatory issues relating to capital adequacy, solvency, corporate governance, early warning systems and the protection of policyholders and the financial system at large.
The Act also provides for the establishment of a Financial Services Review Panel to which any person who is aggrieved by a decision of the FSC or of a Self Regulatory Organisation may apply for a review.
In July, 2005, the Financial Services Commission issued new versions of three Codes on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, originally issued in 2003.
- The Code on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing intended for Management Companies;
- The Code on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing intended for Insurance Entities; and
- The Code on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing intended for Investment Businesses.
The Codes have been revised to meet new national and international anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing initiatives.
The main changes brought to the Codes include the following:
- the substantive provisions of the Codes have been reviewed to embrace the concept of Customer Due Diligence as set out in the Revised recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force;
- the Codes have been clarified to indicate situations where licence holding companies are required to apply enhanced due diligence procedures and situations where they may apply reduced or simplified due diligence procedures;
- the requirements regarding introduced business have been realigned with international standards; and
- new provisions have been introduced in the Codes with regard to omnibus accounts.
The revised Codes came into operation on 01 August 2005.
Also in 2005, the 2002 Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act was amended and updated by the Financial Intelligence and Anti- Money Laundering (Amendment) Regulations 2005.
In December, 2005, the FSC promulgated its proposed Securities (Collective Investment Schemes And Closed End Funds) Regulations 2005 and the proposed Securities (Licensing, Prudential And Conduct Of Business) Rules.
The FSC said that in drafting the Securities Act 2005 (see above for more information), the approach was to include only high-level principles in the legislation and to include the finer details (that are more subject to change) in Regulations and Rules that will supplement the legislation.
In April, 2006, Rama Sithanen, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Mauritius, told the 3rd annual meeting of the island's Financial Intelligence Unit that the Prevention of Corruption Act will be amended in order to permit the restructuring of the Independent Commission Against Corruption as a major partner in the fight against money laundering.
Later, the Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam, presented the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill 2006 for its first reading in the National Assembly. The new law will give the courts jurisdiction over those accused of corruption. Previous amendments in 2005 reorganized and simplified the management of the Commission.
Also in 2006, work started on a draft Financial Services (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill to be submitted to Government, which would bring the necessary amendments to various pieces of legislation relating to the non-banking financial services sector.
In August 2007, the Mauritius Assembly passed the Financial Services Bill, which became the Financial Services Act the following month. The objective of this bill was to amend and consolidate the law regulating financial services in Mauritius, other than banking, and global business and to provide for related matters.