www.captiveinternational.com NEWS 23
UK anti-money laundering bill under fire
from Cayman CEO
THE UK House of Commons has passed
a bill that would require public ownership
registers in the Cayman Islands and other
British Overseas Territories by December
The Sanctions and Anti-Money
Laundering Bill is intended to improve
transparency in these jurisdictions for the
purposes of the detection, investigation
or prevention of money laundering.
A new clause in the bill states that
the Secretary of State must provide
all reasonable assistance to the
governments of the British Overseas
Territories to enable each of them to
establish a publicly accessible register
of the beneficial ownership of companies
registered in each jurisdiction.
The bill has come under fire from Jude
Scott, CEO of Cayman Finance, who
called the vote a “vain attempt” to tackle
global problems such as corruption and
tax evasion, by unfairly discriminating
against a few jurisdictions.
He suggested that global problems
such as tax evasion and money
laundering require global solutions and
standards that apply to all jurisdictions.
“Cayman’s existing verified ownership
regime remains in force—and remains
superior to existing ownership regimes in
the UK and around the world,” said Scott.
“This vote simply continues the
legislative process for potentially
requiring changes to Cayman’s ownership
regime more than two years from now,
during which time there will still be
ongoing dialogue with the UK.”
The bill has passed all its stages in the
Commons and will now be returned to
the House of Lords.
Scott continued: “The Cayman
Islands is a transparent jurisdiction
that already meets or exceeds the full
range of globally-accepted standards
for transparency and cross-border
cooperation with law enforcement and
“Cayman became an early adopter
of automatic data exchange by signing
agreements such as the European Union
Savings Directive, the OECD’s Common
Reporting Standard, US FATCA, and
country-by-country reporting principles
under the BEPS process.
“The Cayman Islands has had a world-class
verified ownership regime in place
for more than 15 years, whereas only 11
out of 28 EU countries have a register at all.
For all those reasons, the OECD’s Global
Forum in 2017 assessed our jurisdiction
to be ‘largely compliant‘ with the
international standard for transparency
and exchange of information, the same
rating given Canada and Australia.
“The Financial Action Task Force
has recognised that verifiable private
registers like Cayman’s which are
searchable by appropriate tax authorities
and law enforcement agencies remain
the more effective approach. Recent
reporting about multiple defects in the
UK’s own current public, but unverified,
register system proves the point.
“The House demonstrated a
remarkable display of double standards
by voting down a requirement to perform
basic anti-money laundering checks
on the hundreds of thousands of UK
companies formed annually through
Companies House in the UK.
“We are a long way from any change
in Cayman’s existing verified ownership
regime. The Cayman Islands financial
services industry will support fully all
actions taken by the Cayman Islands
government to assess its options
for responding to this unjustifiable
encroachment into matters within
Cayman’s domestic competence.
“In the meantime, Cayman Finance
notes the UK government’s explicit
assurance that it will work with
iStock Photo / vandervelden
the Cayman Islands in shaping any
implementation of this legislation; that
the UK will respect the Cayman Islands’
constitutional rights; and its assurance
that it will work with the Cayman Islands
to protect its interests.
“Cayman Finance will support the
Cayman Islands government in ensuring
that the UK delivers on these assurances
in any proposals to make changes to
the Cayman Islands’ globally endorsed
existing anti-money laundering regime
and it’s highly successful, well-regulated
and globally significant financial services
David Burt, the premier and minister of
finance of Bermuda, said the action taken
in the UK parliament signals a significant
backwards step in the relations between
the UK and the Overseas Territories.
Burt commented: “In the case of
Bermuda, it is ironic that in the very year
we celebrate the 50th anniversary of our
Constitution, Bermuda is confronted with
this regrettable ‘about face’ which fails
to acknowledge this long history of full
“The government of Bermuda has a
strong constitutional position and the
people of Bermuda can rest assured
that we will take the necessary steps
to ensure our Constitution is respected.
This attempt to legislate for Bermuda
from London is a return to base
colonialism and is an action that has no
place in 2018.
“It is especially telling that the Crown
Dependencies are not included in this
amendment which is restricted to the
Caribbean Overseas Territories and