Britain’s finance minister backs Cayman Islands position on beneficial ownership

The Cayman Islands government has released the response it received from Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, to the letter sent to him by financial services minister Wayne Panton about the Cayman government’s position on the sharing of beneficial ownership information.


The UK’s finance minister has accepted that any new future regime or mechanism must protect confidentiality and security and has assured the local government that the jurisdiction will get a seat at the table during the future talks.


Osborne praised the Cayman Islands government for its proactive position and said the lead taken by the jurisdiction on transparency had helped with the uptake of global standards. The chancellor also supports the government’s call for standards that apply to all nations.


“I also very much agree with your comments about the importance of a level playing field and hope that we can work together to convince all countries and jurisdictions to join this important initiative,” he wrote.


So far, Cayman has shown its willingness over the exchange of detailed information on the real owners of company’s trusts, funds and other financial entities and vehicles registered in the Cayman Islands but only to law enforcement agencies and tax authorities.


The government is refusing to create an open public central register unless that becomes the global standard, as it believes that the release of information does not need to be open to all.


Premier Alden McLaughlin is pushing hard on this issue to ensure that the Cayman government is at the table to help shape the future exchange mechanism without resorting to a public register.