Bermuda's beneficial ownership register now in full operation as the postponed deadline for legal entities to submit the information has been reached.
Bermuda companies, limited liability companies and partnerships had until 30 April 2019 to update or verify their beneficial ownership information under Bermuda's beneficial ownership legislation.
Beneficial owners are any individual or individuals who directly or indirectly own or control more than 25% of the shares, voting rights or interests in a company or who control a company by other means. If no such person can be identified, the company's senior managers will be regarded as beneficial owners.
Fines of up to Ber$5,000 may be imposed for contravention of, or failure to comply with, the obligations under the beneficial ownership legislation. Knowingly providing misleading information to the registrar of companies or the BMA attracts fines of up to Ber$50,000. The obligations under the beneficial ownership legislation are primarily imposed on companies and partnerships existing under Bermuda laws.
Certain entities and their subsidiaries are exempt. These include companies listed on an approved stock exchange; closed-ended investment vehicles managed or administered by designated Bermuda licensed service providers; overseas companies with a branch office in Bermuda; and financial institutions licensed to carry on regulated activities in, or from, Bermuda.
Currently, under Bermuda law, the information on the central register will not be publicly available. There is no indication that Bermuda's Parliament will enact legislation to make such registers publicly available, in whole or part, unless and until public beneficial ownership registers become a global standard.
Following the most recent EU anti-money laundering directives (AMLDs), public beneficial ownership registers for certain entities have been introduced in certain jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, Denmark and Luxembourg.
Britain will issue an Order in Council in December 2020, requiring OTs to establish public registers. The Bermuda Government has argued that the order would breach the Bermuda Constitution.
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