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Jersey Leading The Way On Beneficial Ownership Data Keeping

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
28 April, 2016

Jersey Finance has published an academic paper on the effectiveness of beneficial ownership central registries and the regulation of corporate service providers in combating financial crime.

The paper, which was launch during Jersey Finance Private Wealth Conference in London, concluded that Jersey is one of the few jurisdictions with an existing effective, fit-for-purpose, central register of company beneficial ownership information and is a world leader in this regard.

The paper identified three strengths of the Jersey registry model. According to the report, unlike conventional registries, Jersey's registry model actively verifies beneficial owners' identities at the time of first registration, and runs their names through due diligence software. Second, the registry coordinates closely with the island's (licenced and regulated) Corporate Service Providers to ensure that beneficial ownership information is kept up to date in subsequent years. Finally, company registration is only approved if trained staff at the registry are confident that they have accurately identified the beneficial owner.

The paper concludes that, while no system is perfect, this model of registry seems to provide significantly greater confidence than the passive, archival central registry alternatives elsewhere.

Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, said: "We hope that this paper will contribute to the debate that has been underway since the Panama Papers were published. In particular, we hope that it will demonstrate that ... all IFCs are not the same, and public registries do not necessarily combat financial crime effectively."

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