US: Bill would establish beneficial ownership registry

(Cayman Compass)--The United States could soon have a central registry containing the beneficial ownership information of U.S.-registered companies.

Right now, companies in the U.S. are formed at the state level. Some states, such as Delaware, require no beneficial ownership information to be submitted by anyone who wants to incorporate a company there.


A bill before Congress would change that, giving federal oversight over company formation issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, the legislation would establish a beneficial ownership database maintained by the U.S. Treasury, which could be accessed by law enforcement.


The proposed change bears resemblance to the United Kingdom’s recent decision to force its British Overseas Territories to implement public beneficial owner registries, but there are several key differences between what happened in the U.K. parliament and what’s being mulled in the U.S.


First, the U.S. registry will only be accessed by U.S. investigators, while the registries the U.K. is forcing its territories to implement will be public, according to Robert Briant, the chairman of BVI Finance – the British Virgin Islands’ version of Cayman Finance.



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