BRADES, Montserrat, September 4th 2013 – The Government of Montserrat on Wednesday, September 4, 2013 published its action plan to improve financial transparency as it relates to company ownership.
His Excellency the Governor Adrian Davis and the Honourable Premier Reuben Meade submitted a joint paper for approval by the Cabinet on the action plan.
Following meetings with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the Overseas Territories and Dependencies in June, Montserrat and the other nations agreed to increased transparency in matters related to taxation and beneficial ownership.
The plan which is available on the www.gov.ms said the government “is committed to implementing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards to obtain and maintain identification information on the beneficial owners of companies and legal arrangement to ensure transparency of ownership and control and the adherence of good corporate governance.”
It further states that “Montserrat will take the following actions to meet its commitment and comply with international standards:
- “Introduce provisions in the Companies Act, Cap.11.12 to require companies to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their controllers and owners and introduce provisions in the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Regulations 2010 to require relevant service providers to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information of the owners and controllers of persons who they are obliged to apply customer due diligence measures.
- “Introduce provisions in the Companies Act, Cap.11.12 to require incorporators of legal entities to provide the Companies Registrar at registration with details of companies’ beneficial owners and controllers and the requirement to file, in a timely manner, notices of changes of beneficial owners and controllers.
- “Ensure that the legal framework provides for relevant competent authorities to have access to information held by trustees that are subject to the provisions of Trust Act, Cap.11.06 as amended, and that there are effective mechanisms in place to share information at domestic and international level for express trusts.
- “Review the supervision of persons licensed under the Company Management Act, Cap. 11.26 and companies registered as legal trust entities under the International Banking and Trust Company Act 2006 to ensure that they are in compliance with the requirement to apply effective due diligence measures including the identification and verification of beneficial owners.
- Review the legislative framework for incorporating corporate entities to ensure that transparency in all corporate entities is a legal requirement and that companies are prohibited from issuing bearer shares, nominee shareholdings and the appointment of nominee directors. Where necessary introduce relevant legislation to restrict or prohibit these activities.
- Review legislative framework to ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are available for companies, financial institutions and service providers supervised under the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Regulations 2010 who do not comply with the requirements in the Regulations to apply customer due diligence measures.
- Conduct National Risk Assessment of Montserrat’s compliance with FATF recommendations for beneficial ownership and consult with relevant stakeholders the need to establish a centralised register of companies’ beneficial ownership information and the level of accessibility.”
All of the actions stated in the plan are to be completed by the end of 2014. Intermediate timelines are being negotiated and will be made publicly available later.
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