Crown Dependencies commit to increase access to company beneficial ownership data

13 December 2023, the UK Crown Dependencies – Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey – published a joint commitment to increase transparency and accessibility to information held on their registers of beneficial ownership.

The central registers of company beneficial ownership in each of the Crown Dependencies currently exchange information with international law enforcement entities and tax authorities around the world. In line with the shared global aim of combatting financial crime in all its forms, access to the information will be extended to include:

  • Financial services business and certain other businesses in the Crown Dependencies (collectively described as ‘obliged entities’) who are required to conduct customer due diligence.
  • Media and civil society organisations that can demonstrate a legitimate interest in accessing relevant information to combat financial crime.

The Crown Dependencies have already undertaken substantial preparatory work to enable obliged entity access, and it will be implemented before the end of 2024 in a manner that puts in place appropriate safeguards to manage effectively any interference with privacy rights.

Subject to necessary approvals in the Crown Dependencies’ legislatures, access for those with a legitimate interest will be provided in line with international obligations extended to the three islands, recognising the balance between protecting human rights and combatting financial crime.

The Crown Dependencies will develop and deliver ‘legitimate interest’ access in a leading timeframe, taking into account international developments. Proposals to agree the definition of legitimate interest will be presented to the islands’ parliaments by the fourth quarter of 2024 at the latest, with implementation following in a reasonable timeframe afterwards.

The statement said that the joint commitment followed careful consideration of recent decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, which recognise the incompatibility with public access with the right to privacy, and recent international developments in response to this.


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