Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons (Guernsey) Law, 2017

What is the Beneficial Ownership Law?

The Law requires that all Legal Persons in Guernsey are to register their beneficial ownership with the Registrar of Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons (the Guernsey Registry). The register is private and will be held on a closed system requiring physical access and authority to access data. The reporting should be performed by the Resident Agent of the Legal Person and a Register of Beneficial Owners is to be kept at the registered office of the Legal Person.

What does the Regime cover?

The Regime covers the following types of legal person:

  • Companies registered in Guernsey
  • Foundations registered under Guernsey law
  • Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) registered under Guernsey law

Listed companies, GFSC registered funds and GFSC licensees are exempt. Whilst Trusts are not covered, it may be necessary to identify and report on the beneficial owners of a Trust where the Legal Person is owned or controlled within a trust arrangement.

There are three tests to identify beneficial owners:

  • Test 1 – The Ownership Test
  • Test 2 – The Control Test
  • Test 3 – The Management Test

Test 3 will only apply if no registrable owners are identified under Tests 1 or 2.

The information that must be reported is:

  • Name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Principal residential address
  • Date of becoming a beneficial owner (if after 15 August 2017
  • Grounds for being a beneficial owner

There are civil penalties that may be levied against both beneficial owners and resident agents for non-compliance. Additionally, resident agents face criminal penalties. Regulated entities will face GFSC sanctions rather than the civil penalties under the law.

When does the new Regime take effect?

The new Regime is live now, and all new legal persons (starting from 15 August 2017) must register beneficial ownership at the time of incorporation.

For existing entities:

  • Foundations and LLPs must submit/comply by 31 October 2017
  • Companies must submit/comply by 28 February 2018

Records of beneficial owners must be kept up to date and the Registrar should be notified of any changes within 14 days.

How can Midshore help?

Our range of services (from guidance through to full project management) can be brought to bear both on making timely submissions by the initial reporting dates as well as ensuring processes are in place for ongoing compliance. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.