Cayman lobbies against plans for public register of beneficial ownership

Officials from the Cayman Islands have been lobbying to oppose plans for the UK to have a public register of beneficial ownership, during a series of meetings it has been attending in London ahead of today’s British Overseas Territories Brexit summit.

Cayman premier Alden McLaughlin and other selected leaders of Britain’s Overseas Territories (BOTs) will meet with UK officials today in a bid to seek a clearer picture of the likely fallout from the UK’s planned exit from the European Union, at a specially convened meeting with the Joint Ministerial Council.

Baroness Anelay, the minister responsible for the BOTs, is set to chair the talks alongside various other UK ministers with responsibility for aspects of the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the EU, to discuss impact on BOTs.

Wayne Panton, Cayman’s financial services minister, who has been in London and Brussels for a series of meetings over the past two weeks and will also be at today’s meeting, revealed that he has taken advantage of the visit to push Cayman position on public registers of beneficial ownership.

Panton said, in an interview with local news outlet Cayman Compass, that Cayman had been lobbying to oppose any calls for a public register of beneficial ownership, during discussions with UK MPs from both the UK Government and the opposition party.

Public registers of beneficial ownership

Panton spoke Cayman Compass via a phone interview from London on Sunday, revealing details of a series of behind-the-scenes discussions held across the last couple of weeks.

Panton said that he met with UK Labour Party MPs attempting to push through an amendment to the UK Corporate Finances Bill, which would impose a public register of beneficial ownership information on the overseas territories. He said he had also successfully lobbied UK Government MPs, persuading them not to support the opposition-led amendment.

“I don’t know if we changed their minds, but we can say that there area areas in which we found common ground and some members on the Conservative side that were in support have now changed their position,” Panton said.

Panton added that Cayman wanted to “make sure that we have the same opportunities in terms of cross border transactions with EU member states as we do now”.

Right to work

Among the concerns expected to be aired at today’s Joint Ministerial Council include the impact on BOTs citizens’ right to work and study in Europe, the likely loss of access to European Union grant funding, and the potential for the split to affect important relationships in the financial services industry, a point particular pertinent to Cayman.

Caymen government held a public consultation exercise to hear the concerns of Cayman Islands residents ahead of the meeting with Panton pointing to “the level of uncertainty” that still exists in Europe, the UK and in the overseas territories as the overriding concern. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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