Bermuda unveils G8 action plan

By added on 31/07/2013

The Bermuda Cabinet Office has announced that seven initiatives will be implemented as part of efforts to include 2012 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) revisions into Bermuda’s regulatory environment, reports Royal Gazette.

FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.

A press release stated: “Notwithstanding our long history of knowing our clients and the strength and robustness of our existing regime, Bermuda remains committed to constantly reviewing and updating our regime to ensure compliance with and implementation of international standards.”

The seven initiatives are:

1. Complete the National Risk Assessment in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing, and publish its findings on or before end of first quarter 2014.

2. Continue implementation of the new licensing and supervisory regime for Corporate Service Providers to impose prudential and anti-money laundering/anti-terrorism financing (AML/ATF) obligations on such entities; and review and appropriately update our supervisory arrangements for other financial institutions and for designated non-financial businesses and professions.

3. Continue work on addressing gaps in Bermuda’s AML/ATF regime in relation to the 2012 revision of the FATF standards, particularly in relation to recommendations 24 and 25 and other provisions relating to beneficial ownership requirements, as part of preparations for a 2015 review of Bermuda’s AML/ATF regime.

4. In conjunction with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, the Group of International Finance Centre Supervisors and other such bodies, participate in work to update and enhance guidance and standards of best practice for trust and company service providers and assist in promulgating such standards.

5. Review and appropriately enhance corporate transparency mechanisms in line with international standards and their implementation globally.

6. Review and update mechanisms for domestic and international cooperation in compliance with international standards, including in relation to the timely and effective exchange of beneficial ownership information.

7. Continue work with international bodies (FATF, OECD, IOSCO, IAIS, G8 and others) and other jurisdictions in respect of standards relating to corporate transparency and information exchange mechanisms; and sharing information on Bermuda’s approach and experiences.

The Bermuda Government has continually demonstrated its commitment to take the required measures to protect our borders from those who would wish to use them to undertake or hide criminal or other such unacceptable activity, and for over 70 years has imposed safeguards in this regard.

A press release making the announcement stated the initiatives had been made: “ ... to ensure that Bermuda can appropriately play its role in the global fight to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation, Bermuda will undertake the ... initiatives in relation to preventing the misuse of companies and legal arrangements.”

It stated: “The actions taken have contributed to our hard earned reputation as a quality international financial centre, with a strong regulatory framework and a well-developed and highly regarded regime for incorporation and corporate transparency.

“Bermuda is committed to continual enhancement and update of our AML/ATF regime to protect our reputation as a quality international financial centre with particular focus on the insurance sector.

“As we have done for more than 70 years, we will continually review our arrangements to prevent the misuse of companies and legal arrangements and enhance corporate transparency and international cooperation.

“As part of our on-going programme of appropriately updating and enhancing our regime, we will continue to review and consider global developments in relation to access and disclosure of beneficial ownership information, including having a central registry for beneficial ownership information.”