The Guideline has been issued to ensure that companies have a clear understanding of the definition of “beneficial owner” (Stock photo)

The Registrar of the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) has issued a Guideline for the Application and Interpretation of the Term “Beneficial Ownership”, and the Identification of Beneficial Owners of Companies on July 29, 2021.

The Guideline has been issued in accordance with section 448A of the Companies Act, Cap. 308 of the Laws of Barbados, to provide guidance on beneficial ownership; specifically, the application and interpretation of the term “beneficial ownership” and the identification of beneficial owners of all legal persons.

The global threats of money laundering, and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction mean that businesses are also susceptible to being misused for carrying out these and other illicit activities.

Oftentimes, the individual perpetrators behind these nefarious activities hide behind businesses and complex corporate structures; employing a multitude of measures and going to great lengths to conceal their identities.  Countries have had to strengthen their vigilance to counter these threats and to minimise the possibility of their jurisdictions or institutions becoming involved.

Accordingly, the availability of beneficial ownership information is now a key requirement of international tax transparency and the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  The obligation to maintain a record of the beneficial ownership of a company at its registered office is provided for in section 170 of the Companies Act, which has been amended by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019-51, to ensure that Barbados’ legislation remains in line with international standards.

Though the definition of “beneficial owner” is defined in section 448 of the Companies Act, the Guideline has been issued to ensure that companies have a clear understanding of the definition, and it outlines several measures for the identification of a beneficial owner.

The Guideline is available on CAIPO’s website https://www.caipo.gov.bb, or by clicking the direct link https://caipo.gov.bb/home/index.php/forms-documents/category/11-documents

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