The United Kingdom (UK) and the Overseas Territories (OTs) are set to establish a technical working group on beneficial ownership transparency.

The announcement came from Deputy Premier and Minister for Financial Services Hon. Lorna Smith during a recent press conference, where she explained that the decision was made following discussions at the recently concluded Joint Ministerial Council meetings in London.

The technical working group is expected to discuss topical issues pertaining to the implementation of publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership and to ensure that measures are in place to protect the privacy rights of companies.

These discussions she said must occur very quickly in the interest of time.

The BVI’s plans of implementing a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership by 2023 have lagged behind, with developments infringing on the pledge made by former Premier Andrew Fahie to have the system implemented by the end of the year.

The request from the United Kingdom to have a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership implemented in the BVI and other OTs persists despite opposing views from international standard-setters within the industry.

In November 2022, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that registers containing the personal information of the owners of a company that was openly available to the general public are an infringement of the fundamental rights of privacy and personal data protection.

Hon. Smith addressed the matter.