May 2018

The Bahamas has ‘no Intention’ of making owners registry public

The government of the Bahamas said yesterday that it has “no intention” of making its beneficial ownership registries public in stark defiance of Britain’s move to introduce new legislation that will require its overseas territories to move to a fully transparent system of company ownership by 2020.

Lennox Paton Partner and former Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) chairman, Michael Paton was quoted in today’s issue of The Tribune.

The Bahamas “should not craft a business plan” around the UK-related pressures on its IFC rivals.

“It could potentially benefit us if we’re seen as a good place to move to with the right infrastructure, but I don’t want us to be saying our strategy is to benefit from that issue,” he told Tribune Business.

“We have a lot on our plate, but we’re in a good position with the way we’re approaching this beneficial ownership registry. There could be some impact in our favour, but I wouldn’t use it as a business plan.”

The Lennox Paton attorney and partner added that recent developments “will make private wealth intermediaries think carefully where they incorporate companies, or decide to keep companies in these jurisdictions”.

He added that the Government needed to hold fast to its position on a private Beneficial Ownership Registry, and said of the UK move: “I would expect and hope there’s no direct impact on the Bahamas.”

“We’re in a good position, insisting on a private Beneficial Ownership Registry with access by the appropriate people. That’s a valid way to approach the issue, and I wouldn’t want the Government to move from its current position. I don’t think there’s a need.”

Read the full article from The Tribune here


Michael Paton
Michael is a partner and head of the firm’s Corporate and Commercial, Investment Funds and Banking and Finance Groups. He is ranked Band 1 by Chambers Global Guide in ‘general business law’.  Michael’s areas of practice include corporate, finance, banking, securities, mergers & acquisitions, investment funds, trusts and foundations.  He has spoken at numerous international conferences, has written numerous articles, and has authorised several chapters for practitioner texts on Bahamian legal issues.  Michael is former chairman of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (2002-2004), and he is currently deputy chairman of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (since 2017). He is also a qualified Certified Public Accountant (non-practising) in the United States.  Read more