BVI’s new legislation regarding the Register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs)

BVI’s new legislation regarding the Register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs)

On June 12, 2017, the BVI government enacted a new legislation named Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act (BOSS Act), which establishes the implementation of a database system for UBO information of companies registered in the island. This legislation is part of a series of agreements executed by the United Kingdom and the crown dependencies and other sea territories in 2016 to facilitate the UBO information exchange and the prevention of the tax evasion and money laundering.

The most important points of this new legislation are:

When did it come into force?

The Register came into force on June 30, 2017.

Who is considered an Ultimate Beneficial Owner?

An UBO is an individual or company that directly or indirectly owns 25% or more of the membership rights, voting rights or the rights to appoint or remove the majority of the directors of a company or other entity. However, this percentage only applies for those stipulated under the BOSS Act, because there is another current legislation in BVI that establishes that it is mandatory to completely identify any person that owns or controls more than 10% of a BVI company.

What are the obligations of the Registered Agents?

The law indicates that the registered agents have to keep a database to maintain all the information related to the UBOs of each company.

This law sets out serious penalties for the companies and registered agents that do not comply with the requirements or that deliver false information.

Who has access to the Register’s information?

Access to the database will be permitted to agencies and bodies designated by the competent authorities. These are:

  • The Financial Investigation Agency
  • The Financial Services Commission
  • The International Tax Authority
  • The Attorney General’s Chambers

What information has to be registered?

All information that is necessary to duly identify the UBO of the company, such as:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address

The companies have to inform the registered agents any changes regarding the ownership of the company or the registered UBO information within 15 days of the changes.

Once the registered agent is notified of the changes, it has 15 days to introduce the new information into the BOSS system.

Which entities are not covered by this law?

The new register regime does not apply to companies that act as “Mutual Funds” according to the Securities and Investments Business Act of 2010, as well as companies listed in the stock market exchange and agents that act as licensees.

Photo by Ragnar Vorel

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