Business transparency backed by Senate
A law to boost Bermuda's credentials as a transparent offshore centre was today backed by Senate.
The legislation is designed to ensure the island meets transparency standards for registered businesses in line with Financial Action Task Force and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development rules.
The Companies and Limited Liability Company (Beneficial Ownership) Amendment Act is also designed to support Bermuda's obligations under a 2016 agreement between Bermuda and the UK to exchange of beneficial ownership information and the development of a central registry.
One Bermuda Alliance senator Andrew Simons said his party welcomed the legislation but warned that moves had to be made to boost cybersecurity. He added: “The threats are greater still, For many years you could call the Bermuda Monetary Authority's register of beneficial owners its crown jewels.
“There has always been a risk from any compromise to those data and as we collect more data, the requirements to secure those data increase further.
“We want better data quality, we want to link those registers — the subject of tax compliance comes up often when Bermuda as a jurisdiction is mentioned and it is true that we have signed up to the Common Reporting Standards so there are standard ways of automatically transferring financial information.”
Mr Simons added: “Some of the beneficial ownership information may soon be transferred in similar ways linking our registers to others. I hope that Bermuda embraces this modernisation and makes the most of it.
“We don't see this as merely regulatory overhead — instead we should see it as an opportunity to further modernise Bermuda as a jurisdiction and use those innovations to find new ways to do business better.”
Attorney General Kathy Simmons thanked government officials who had worked on the legislation.
She said: “There was a cadre of people who worked tirelessly to keep this company called Bermuda in operation.”
She added that officials had been used as “political fodder” over the years.
Ms Simmons said: “The dedication that a lot of people don't see behind the scenes is worthy of applause.”