Already recognised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international bodies for its transparency and standards consistent with those of other major developed countries, the Cayman Islands1 is acknowledged as a first class jurisdiction for conducting international business.
In a press release dated 11 May 2016, the Cayman Islands government has now confirmed a number of steps as a result of constructive discussions with the UK government, including:
- a willingness to commence discussions with those jurisdictions who are participating in the G5 initiative (for the exchange of beneficial ownership information with law enforcement agencies) on entering into bilateral agreements with the Cayman Islands, similar to the Exchange of Notes currently in place with the UK;
- the repeal of The Confidential Relationships (Preservation) Law (the "CRPL") by September 2016.
The CRPL will be replaced by The Confidential Information Disclosure Law, which offers more understanding and definition with regard to the mechanisms in place for sharing confidential information with the appropriate authorities;
- acknowledging privacy as a basic human right, introducing new data protection legislation in September. This legislation will be on par with what is in place in the European Union; and
- the abolishment of bearer shares.
These measures demonstrate the Cayman Islands' continued efforts to comply with and promote transparency through close collaboration and compliance with the relevant global regulatory bodies, tax authorities and law enforcement agencies in line with international standards, while simultaneously respecting the legitimate right to privacy of law abiding clients.
The Cayman Islands has agreements to share tax information with authorities in nearly 90 other countries, including the US under FATCA, and is in the "early adopter" group for the Common Reporting Standard, the OECD's global tax information exchange standard.
On the last round of FATF mutual evaluations the Cayman Islands ranked as one of the most robust in the world for AML compliance, ranking equivalent to or in some cases higher than larger nations such as the UK, Germany and France and a host of other EU and non-EU countries.