‘Entirely reasonable’ to wait for EU on registers
IT IS entirely reasonable for Guernsey to see how European Union member states implement public registers before bringing forward legislative proposals locally, Policy & Resources president Gavin St Pier has said.
Guernsey, along with Jersey and the Isle of Man, yesterday announced plans to align public access to beneficial ownership information registers to the approach taken in the European Union’s fifth anti-money laundering directive.
EU member states are required to implement the directive, which applies from January 2020. The European Commission is due to publish a review into the implementation in 2022 – with Guernsey then planning to bring legislation before the States Assembly within 12 months of that report.
Referring to the 27 member states, excluding the UK, Deputy St Pier said: ‘Because, of course, the way a directive works, it doesn’t have direct applicability into national law.
‘It is incumbent on each member state to turn it into national law. So, they have to interpret the law and decide what is appropriate for their regime.
‘We will have 27 interpretations of the directive and how to apply it. So from our perspective it is the right approach to wait for that implementation report, which is due from the EU Commission to the Council of Ministers in January 2022.
‘Because that will tell us really how effective it’s been and what each of the member states have done – and that, if you like, is an input into our own process.’
He also stressed that the ‘very clear and public commitment’ on bringing forward legislative proposals was underscored by Guernsey’s track record on sticking to its commitments, including most recently to the EU in terms of economic substance legislation.
Public access was only ‘one step in the journey’, added Deputy St Pier. Work is planned between now and 2022 to interconnect the island’s register with those within the EU and access to certain companies to improve due diligence processes.