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Bermuda Welcomes Compromise On BO Registers

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
08 December, 2015

Following persistent demands from the United Kingdom that its Offshore Territories include beneficial ownership information on public central registers, it was agreed at the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) that "similarly effective systems" are a permissible alternative.

A joint statement after the JMC meeting said: "We agreed to hold beneficial ownership information in our respective jurisdictions via central registers or similarly effective systems. We discussed the details of how these systems should be implemented, including through technical dialogue between the Overseas Territories and UK law enforcement authorities on further developing a timely, safe, and secure information exchange process to increase our collective effectiveness for the purposes of law enforcement. We agreed that addressing this issue would be given the highest priority and that progress on implementation would be kept under continuous and close review."

Michael Dunkley, Bermuda's Premier, said after the meeting: "We were pleased to find the JMC very productive this week, and continue to stand firm with the British Government as standard bearers of best practice in tax transparency and compliance. Bermuda has had for over 70 years a world-leading, government-held central register of beneficial ownership that long pre-dates those in most developed countries, including the UK, and has at every opportunity shared the information requested by legitimate international authorities, within 24 hours. Those who demand Bermuda makes its register public are attempting to solve a problem that does not exist, and demonstrate a lack of respect towards the transparency and regulatory standards Bermuda has upheld, arguably unsurpassed, for many decades."

"Bermuda plays a unique and essential role in the global economy, providing re-insurance services to markets around the world and so reducing risk and the cost of capital. Our leading re-insurance industry has helped to protect the world's economies from the severe financial implications of catastrophes like 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy. Bermuda's value proposition is based on world-class regulation and a large pool of intellectual capital. Indeed around seven-eighths of our financial services-dominated economy comes from the re-insurance industry, which was granted Solvency II equivalence by the EU last week in recognition of our regulatory standards."

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