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Govt rejects sector's register concerns

Role of company register new officer upheld

There is to be no change of course by government over a controversial aspect of its Beneficial Ownership Bill, despite the resistance of Island service providers. 

The Bill paves the way for the creation of a central register of ownership of Isle of Man registered companies - the first time the data will have been held collectively.

Draft legislation requires each company, or its representative from the financial services sector, to appoint a Nominated Officer (NO) to provide accurate information to the central database.

This week, sector body the Trust and Corporate Service Providers' Association TCSPA, raised 'grave concerns' about the NO role.

On behalf of 150 member firms, in a letter circulated to every Tynwald member, the Association described the move as 'unnecessarily complicated, burdensome and expensive'.

Those concerns have since been rejected by the Treasury Minister, who insists the nominated officer is essential to ensure a single point of responsibility for submitting accurate information to the register.

Alf Cannan says the current onus on service providers to note beneficial ownership of clients' companies (under the AML/CFT code) do not require them to submit information to the database - and it is therefore a necessary new role.

In a letter to the Association, Mr Cannan lists an additional range of 'crucial' obligations for the NO, without which Mr Cannan argues, 'the core of the Bill would be undermined.'  

Mr Cannan added the Bill will help ensure the Isle of Man can 'continue to resist' pressure to introduce a public register of beneficial ownership.

The Isle of Man has committed to sharing current beneficial ownership data with the UK, and to respond to requests from tax authorities and law enforcement agencies within a short time frame.

The Bill passed its Clauses stage in the House of Keys this week (28 Feb).

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