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Cayman Says UK May Change Tack On Central Registries

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
02 October, 2015

Acting UK Overseas Territories Minister Grant Shapps has said he is hopeful that the Cayman Islands and the UK can compromise on beneficial ownership transparency.

Indicating a change in the UK's position on the matter, after criticism from overseas territories, Shapps said during a brief press conference ahead of a visit to the Cayman Islands, "there's more than one way to skin a cat... The principle [of a beneficial ownership registry] is really straightforward. There needs to be the ability, particularly for law enforcement … to find out who owns what in a quick and transparent way. On that basis [the UK and Cayman] are entirely agreed."

According to Cayman Finance, the island's promotional agency for the financial services industry, the disagreement between Cayman and the UK has centered on the UK's calls for overseas territories to establish central registries and to potentially make the information publicly accessible. Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin has said many times that the Cayman Islands' public and private sectors are opposed to such a plan.

McLaughlin has said that it appears the UK had "moved its position" on demands for a central ownership registry and would instead accept "another effective mechanism" for releasing that information.

The issue will be discussed further at the Joint Ministerial Council meeting set for November in London.

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