The General Registry is going to make the names of directors of Cayman companies available for inspection from 1 Oct. The measure covers both ordinary resident companies and non-resident companies, exempted companies and foreign companies.
The registry will offer dedicated kiosks and terminals for the inspection, which must be made in person and cannot be carried out online. Each search attracts a fee of $50 and will only reveal the names of a company’s directors but no further personal details.
Registrar General Cindy Jefferson-Bulgin said even though it is difficult to predict the volume of inspections, the registry must be prepared to avoid long lines of people waiting.
“We are anticipating that there may be a lot of enquiring minds. We have to be adequately prepared for that,” added Deputy Registrar Donnell Dixon.
The new service follows amendments to the Companies Law approved by the Legislative Assembly in July. The changes require the registrar “to make a list of the names of the directors and alternate directors of a company available for inspection by any person”.
The Companies Law mandates that every company must keep a register containing the names and addresses of its directors, including alternate directors, and officers at its registered office.
Until now, a copy of this register had to be sent to the registrar within 60 days of the first appointment of any director or officer of the company. But there was no requirement for this information to be publicly available.
The company law amendments were made in response to a review of Cayman’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regime by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.
In its report released in March, the CFATF noted that certain basic information such as the registered address and status of a company is available to the public through the General Registry’s website for a small fee.
However, “Of all the companies that can be created in the Cayman Islands, the law does not require exempted and limited liability companies to file a list of directors which can be made available for public access,” the CFATF report said. “The General Registry maintains information on directors of exempted companies and limited liability companies which is only available to competent authorities or in exceptional circumstances. The absence of a requirement for these companies is considered a major gap given the vast number of these companies formed in the jurisdiction.”
The assessors also stated that the 60‑day notification period did not allow for the timely maintenance of current information when changes occur. “This may lead to instances of providing outdated information, where information is being sourced to pursue an investigation,” the CFATF noted.
The amendments to the Companies Law passed in July reduced the time to notify the registrar of a change in directors or officers of a company from 60 days to 30 days.
Minister Tara Rivers said in response to questions by the Cayman Compass earlier this month that making the list of directors for a company publicly available was a response to a CFATF recommended action, but it would not move Cayman closer to implementing public registers of beneficial ownership. There is no change to the availability of beneficial ownership information.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: The opening sentence of a previous version of the article stated that the names of directors and officers of Cayman companies would be made available for inspection. However, the new service only applies to directors, not officers.