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Walkers is a leading international law firm. We advise on the laws of Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Ireland and Jersey.
GlobalMap Oct2019


Walkers continues to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its people, its clients and its business.


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Developments in the Disclosure and Provision of Legal Entity Information in Jersey

Draft legislation recently published by the Government of Jersey gives greater legal clarity around disclosure of company information and provides a foundation for future changes, including in relation to beneficial ownership and foundations. Its introduction should be understood within the context of ongoing pressure on offshore jurisdictions to be seen to be squeaky clean as regards compliance with the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures, and consequential developments which may impact the Island’s finance industry in the future.

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AIFMD – Room for improvement

On 18 August 2020, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) sent a letter to the European Commission (the “Commission”) setting out suggested improvements to the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”) for consideration as part of the Commission’s current review of AIFMD. While the focus of the letter is on AIFMD, several suggestions also relate to amendments to the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (“UCITS”) framework.

Two annexes to the letter contain the detail of the suggestions being put forward by ESMA. Annex I sets out 19 key issues relating to the legislative framework where ESMA recommends amendments. Annex II sets out suggested amendments to the AIFMD reporting regime and use of data.


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Relying on Digital ID for AML/CFT Purposes in Jersey and Guernsey

The financial services regulators in both Guernsey and Jersey have for several years officially recognised that regulated firms may, subject to appropriate safeguards, use electronic or digital means to meet their AML/CFT obligations to identify and verify the identities of their customers. This is in line with the position taken by the FATF – the intergovernmental body whose Recommendations are the accepted international standard on AML/CFT – and followed by many other regulators around the world.

In our experience, regulated firms in the Channel Islands have in large part continued to rely on traditional, paper-based means of verifying identity – but in the last few months, lockdowns imposed around the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have made it highly impractical or impossible to verify customers’ identities by such means, which has brought digital systems for identification and verification of identity into focus, and may well accelerate the transition from paper based to digital systems as the default means of verifying identity.

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Updates to the Cayman Islands Beneficial Ownership Regime

The Cayman Islands beneficial ownership regime (“Regime”), which came into force on 1 July 2017, has been revised by amendments to the laws which came into force on 29 June 2020, with amendments to the associated regulations on 31 July 2020 (together, the “Amendments”).

The Regime requires Cayman Islands companies and limited liability companies (together “Companies”) to establish and maintain beneficial ownership registers unless they are exempt. Please see our previous advisory for further details in relation to the Regime.

Key changes introduced by the amendments include a shift of responsibility for issuing restrictions notices, a more detailed administrative fines regime, and an evidential assumption of breach where a beneficial ownership register remains in ‘enquiries pending’ status for three or more calendar months. 

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Guernsey Adopts New Statutory Regime For Migration of Limited Partnerships

Limited partnerships which are registered overseas may now migrate into Guernsey under the Limited Partnerships (Guernsey) (Migration) Regulations, 2020, which came into force on 30 July 2020.

The LP Migration Regulations mirror the migration procedures already in force for companies under the Companies (Guernsey) Law, 2008, which allow companies to migrate into and out of the jurisdiction. The LP Migration Regulations are a further step to simplify the procedure for moving existing overseas funds into Guernsey, following the introduction by the GFSC of a fast track application regime for the migration of fund managers in June 2020.

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