The Department of Economic Development is making the final preparations to implement a central database of corporate beneficial ownership as the launch date approaches.
The Beneficial Ownership Act was given Royal Assent in April and the central database will go live on 1st July 2017. Guidance issued by the Financial Services Authority will be laid before the June sitting of Tynwald.
With a small number of exceptions, the new regime applies to all legal entities incorporated, registered or established in the Isle of Man. The Companies Registry will shortly be contacting them with details of how to upload the information to the new central database.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for the Department of Economic Development, commented:
‘The introduction of a central database of corporate beneficial ownership shows that the Isle of Man recognises the importance of playing a leading role in international standards and ensuring we meet the highest levels of co-operation to combat money laundering, tax evasion and serious crime.’
Most types of legal entities have to appoint a person, known as the Nominated Officer, to provide Government with the required details. They will be sent an enrolment code no later than the end of June 2017 which will enable them to submit the registrable beneficial ownership information via Government Online Services.
In the case of legal entities using a licensed corporate service provider (CSP), the responsibilities under the Act which are undertaken by the Nominated Officer will fall to the CSP.
John Wilkinson, Director of the Central Registry, commented:
‘Nominated Officers and CSPs already have a duty to keep a record of beneficial ownership. All we are asking them to do now is to share those details with us.
‘For small companies, the owner may well be both the Nominated Officer and the beneficial owner while medium and large businesses often appoint a CSP whose responsibility it will be to comply with the legislation.’
‘Once Nominated Officers and CSPs have received their enrolment code they should log on to Government Online Services and follow the simple steps to complete the necessary details.’’
The Nominated Officer/CSP must submit the registrable beneficial ownership information by the date on which the legal entity’s next annual return must be filed or by 30 June 2018, whichever is earlier, but in any event as soon as reasonably practicable after the information has been submitted to the nominated officer. Any changes to the information must also then be submitted to the database within one calendar month of the Nominated Officer being made aware of the said changes.
Reminders will be sent out the month before the annual return is due.
The secure central private database will be maintained as part of the Companies Registry and overseen by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.
Information held on the central database will not be public and will only be accessible by a small number of designated officials in a limited number of Isle of Man authorities and, on request to the Island’s Financial Intelligence Unit, by the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of countries with which the Isle of Man has a beneficial ownership sharing agreement (currently only the UK).
The legislation was developed in line with the Isle of Man Government’s commitment, made to the United Kingdom Government last year, to enhance arrangements for the sharing of information about the beneficial ownership of corporate and legal entities.
Other Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories have all made the same commitment.
Further information about beneficial ownership will be made available on the Companies Registry website.