From 1 October 2019 the names of the current directors of all Cayman Islands registered companies have been made available for public inspection. This move expands the list of information that is publicly accessible, which, hitherto, had been confined to company name, company type and status, registered office, date of registration and company registration number.
The move follows the Cayman Islands’ peer review by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) which made a number of recommendations in relation to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) in the jurisdiction.
The Cayman Islands was evaluated against the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and recommended actions were outlined in the Mutual Evaluation Report 2019. One of these recommended actions was to make the names of directors and alternate directors available to the public in the interests of transparency and for the Cayman Islands to comply with the international standard.
To implement this recommendation, the Cayman Islands Government passed the Companies (Amendment) Law 2019 which requires that a company’s basic information, including a list of the names of current directors and their alternates (if applicable), be maintained and publicly available for inspection.
The CFATF also noted that a 60-day period in which to update the Registry of any changes to its directors and officers was not sufficiently timely. The legislation was therefore amended to reduce the period within which a Cayman Islands company must notify the Registrar of changes to its directors and officers from 60 to 30 days.
Those who fail to comply with the legislation may incur a penalty.
Process of Inspection
Those wishing to view the list of names of company directors must do so in person at General Registry, either at the kiosks just outside the Registry office if they are paying with a credit/debit card or at the Registry counter if paying cash.
Users must have the registered name of the company (this is distinct from the trading name) in order to conduct a search. There are no printing facilities at the Registry and no means to email search results. The fee for each company inspection is CI$50.
The only information that will be made publicly available is the name of current directors and their alternates. No information will be made available on past directors, and any addresses and all other personal information remains confidential.
Benefits of Directors Inspections
The move strengthens our AML/CFT framework and protects our financial services industry from being used by those wishing to engage in criminal activity. The Cayman Islands has always had a zero-tolerance approach to criminal activity and will continue to implement standards that strengthen our framework against it.
There are also wider benefits to this policy. Greater transparency is useful to those wishing to protect their reputation by ensuring that they work only with reputable or ethical companies and people. From a business perspective, someone may wish to know who the relevant parties who have oversight of a company before they enter into business with that company. In addition, access to the names of directors is useful to creditors when collecting debts from companies in respect of winding up/insolvency.
An International Standard
Allowing public inspection of the names of company directors and their alternates ensures that the Cayman Islands continues to meet international transparency standards. Making the names of directors of a company is a best practice which is being implemented by many countries around the world, including in other international financial centres (IFCs) like the Cayman Islands.
We are not, therefore, implementing measures that will put the jurisdiction at a competitive disadvantage and there is no need to be concerned about loss of clients or the policy negatively impacting business development efforts. Rather, we are enhancing our already robust AML/CFT regime and by doing so, enhancing the reputation of the jurisdiction as a sound place to do business.