NEWS RELEASE 20 July 2012
CLARIFICATION OF MATTERS REPORTED IN RECENT MEDIA COVERAGE OF JERSEY
The Jersey Financial Services Commission (the “Commission”) wishes to clarify a matter recently reported in UK media first referenced in a New Statesman article dated 21 June 2012 and subsequently mentioned in a Guardian newspaper article dated 26 June 2012. The articles asserted that a restaurant address in Jersey, the New Raj Tandoori, was serving as the registered office address for some 800 United Kingdom businesses. The Commission’s enquiries have shown that this assertion is totally without foundation.
The Commission has enquired into this matter with a view to clarifying the precise use of the address quoted and whether it can reasonably be said to be the registered office address for such a large number of UK operated and owned businesses. In seeking to do this, the Commission has been pursuing its statutory responsibility to ensure that all entities in Jersey that carry on trust or company service provider business for non-resident corporations and their beneficial owners are appropriately licenced and supervised entities in line with the provisions of the Financial Services (Jersey) Law 1998.
These enquires have concluded that there is no trust or company service provider present at the address quoted in the two above mentioned articles, nor are there 800 UK businesses having their registered office at that address. Enquires have revealed that a nearby empty office suite has, in the past, been associated with a large group of UK corporate entities administered by an appropriately licensed Jersey trust and company service provider, but which some time ago moved to another address in St Helier within the appropriate trust and company service provider structure.
The importance of UK corporations and their beneficial owners being administered within licenced and supervised trust and company service providers in Jersey stems from the Jersey authorities’ need to have access to information on such entities, and their economic operators, in line with Jersey regulatory requirements. This mechanism is one which the Island has used for many years in order to ensure the availability and relevance of information on such structures in order to allow it to carry out, when required, its international obligations in respect of cross border information exchange with the competent authorities of other jurisdictions.
At a recent Tax and Crime Forum held by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Rome, Jersey was held up by the World Bank as the example for others to follow in complying with the current international standards. Specifically it was stated that Jersey leads the way in combining effective company registry requirements with the rigorous regulation of trust and company service providers to ensure that beneficial ownership information is available. Mention was also made of the fact that, in the World Bank’s report on “how the corrupt use legal structures to hide stolen assets and what to do about it” the Jersey model is used to describe the conditions under which the company registry can be considered a viable option for providing beneficial ownership information.
For these reasons the assertions contained in the recent articles are considered to be groundless and to misrepresent the true position on the regulatory standards applied. If, upon further enquiry, it emerges that any address in Jersey is being used for registered offices purposes for overseas corporations and individuals without the requisite licencing requirements in Jersey being met, the Commission will investigate the matter fully and take appropriate action within its remit to discharge its regulatory responsibilities.
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For further information please contact: -
John Harris - Director General
Jersey Financial Services Commission
Tel: + 44 (0) 1534 822028
Fax: + 44 (0) 1534 822002
The Commission is responsible for the regulation, supervision and development of the financial services industry in the Island of Jersey for banking, collective investment funds, fund services business, insurance business, general insurance mediation business, investment business, money service business, and trust and company service providers.
The Director General of the Commission is also the Registrar of Companies for those corporate bodies that are incorporated in Jersey.
Additionally, the Commission is the supervisory body for those sectors that are subject to regulatory oversight of their anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism responsibilities.
Full details of the Commission’s responsibilities and activities can be obtained from its website at www.jerseyfsc.org