BVI launches a Register of Beneficiaries
As of June 30, 2017, the British Virgin Islands implemented the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act, which introduces a centralized system of collection and storage of information on the beneficial owners of the BVI-registered companies.
The new law compels the local registration agents to collect and store information about the beneficiaries of each one of their clients in a special RA database. Information from all such databases will then be fed into a centralized secure search engine nicknamed BOSSs (Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System).
What information is included in the BOSSs system?
- Main details about a legal entity, specifically:
- company name, including alternatives (if any);
- date of incorporation (registration);
- registration number;
- legal address;
- current status (active, under liquidation, liquidated).
- Information on the beneficiary (-ies) of the legal entity:
- full name;
- place of residence (address);
- date of birth;
It is necessary to notify the registration agent of any changes in a 15-day period who, in turn, has to enter the changes in the database.
Who gets access to the BOSSs system? The BOSSs system is non-public. Only the BVI competent authorities may conduct the search:
- The BVI Financial Investigation Agency;
- The BVI Financial Services Commission;
- The BVI International Tax Authority;
- BVI’s General Attorney’s office.
Besides, an access to the register of beneficiaries will be open to Great Britain, since all the British overseas territories and the possessions of the crown (including the BVO) committed to cooperation with their mother country in these questions.
There is a 24-hour delay for a response to the request of data on a specific legal entity and its beneficiaries, with a 1-hour delay in urgent cases.
The main conclusion over the new BVO register of beneficiaries is that its data will not automatically become publicly available. Therefore, all the legal innovations described here are not going to influence current level of confidentiality when it comes to the company ownership in this jurisdiction. The obligation for the companies to provide full data on the beneficiaries to the registration agent was introduced in the BVO back in January 2016.