Guernsey: Beneficial Ownership Register In Guernsey: An Overview

In line with developing international standards in transparency and law enforcement, Guernsey has introduced a centralised register of the beneficial ownership of Guernsey legal persons.

In this note, we provide a practical overview of the beneficial ownership register (the "BO Register"), including what it will seek to achieve, who will be affected by its introduction, what information it will contain and how it will operate. A further briefing note will provide a more detailed analysis on the question of how to identify the beneficial owners whose details need to be registered.

Speed Read

  • A centralised register of beneficial ownership is being introduced from 15 August 2017
  • Guernsey companies, LLPs and foundations will need to register details of beneficial owners. Listed companies, GFSC regulated funds and GFSC licensees are exempt.
  • Information on the register will not be available to the public but can be disclosed to appropriate law enforcement, regulatory and tax authorities.
  • Broadly similar to regimes being introduced in Jersey, Isle of Man, BVI and Cayman Islands.


Guernsey laws and regulations have, since 2001, required details of beneficial owners of legal persons to be collected and maintained. However, until now that information has been held on the island by certain designated persons and/or regulated businesses, and has not been collated in a central register.

In recent years there have been a number of international initiatives to improve access to beneficial ownership information, both onshore and offshore, including the EU's Fourth Money Laundering Directive, recommendations and guidance published by FATF and principles agreed amongst the G20. In line with Guernsey's ongoing commitment to international standards, and as part of a co-ordinated move taken by the UK, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies, Guernsey has amended its regime so that beneficial ownership information will be held in a centralised, but not public, register.

The regime for the BO Register was introduced by the Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons (Guernsey) Law, 2017 (the "BO Law") and will come into force on 15 August 2017.

What is the purpose of the BO Register?

The BO Register is designed to ensure that Guernsey authorities have timely access to adequate, accurate and current information on beneficial owners of Guernsey legal persons.

The BO Register will not be publicly accessible, has enhanced security features and can only be accessed by a small number of designated persons at the Guernsey Registry, GFSC and Guernsey Financial Intelligence Service.

Other persons (in Guernsey or elsewhere) can ask for disclosure of information contained on the BO Register regarding identified persons, but any such request can only be made for a permitted purpose. Those purposes effectively limit disclosure to local and foreign law nforcement agencies, intelligence services, financial services regulators and tax authorities.

Under the existing regime, such information has been accessible to the Guernsey law enforcement authorities and the GFSC, and they in turn have a long-standing record of co-operating with overseas law enforcement agencies and tax authorities to disclose information when appropriate to do so. However, the addition of the centralised register will mean that the information can be accessed much more quickly than previously. In addition, the authorities will be able to access information on the BO Register without the subject of any investigation being aware that their information has been reviewed.

Which types of Guernsey legal person are subject to the BO Register?

The BO Register relates to the following types of legal person (each a "relevant legal person"):

  • All types of Guernsey incorporated companies
  • Guernsey registered limited liability partnerships (LLPs)
  • Guernsey registered foundations

Under the existing regime, certain types of companies and LLPs are deemed to be sufficiently transparent as a result of other regulatory requirements, so that they do not also need to comply with the beneficial ownership regime. These include:

  • Companies listed on a recognised stock exchange
  • Companies / LLPs regulated by the GFSC as investment schemes
  • Companies licensed by the GFSC under Guernsey regulatory laws
  • Trading companies operated by the States of Guernsey

Such entities will be exempt from the BO Register, for the same reason. The States of Guernsey may in due course issue regulations specifying that certain classes of foundation are exempt from the BO Register.

The BO Register will not be a register of beneficial ownership of trusts.

Who is obliged to register information on the BO Register?

The obligation to provide information to the BO Register falls upon the resident agent of the relevant legal person. The resident agent may be a Guernsey resident person connected with the relevant legal person, or a Guernsey regulated corporate services provider.

In order to enable the resident agent to fulfil its obligations, the resident agent is empowered to require certain persons to provide specified information in relation to beneficial ownership (as listed below). Beneficial owners (and persons who have information about beneficial owners) are obliged to provide information in response to any such request. Beneficial owners are also obliged to volunteer information in certain circumstances.

What information will need to be submitted to the BO Register?

The following items of information (the "required particulars") are to be registered in respect of each beneficial owner of a relevant legal person:

  • Name
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Principal residential address
  • The date on which the beneficial owner became a beneficial owner (if after 15 August 2017)
  • The grounds on which the beneficial owner is considered to be a beneficial owner

When does the BO Register come into effect?

The BO Register becomes active on 15 August 2017. Beneficial ownership information will need to be submitted in relation to any new companies, LLPs or foundations to be established on or after that date (unless they are exempt).

Companies, LLPs and foundations which are already in existence on 15 August 2017 can submit beneficial ownership information from that date, and will need to have done so prior to submission of the next annual validation or annual renewal (28 February 2018 for companies, and 30 June 2018 for LLPs and foundations).

Thereafter, the BO Register must be kept updated with changes to beneficial ownership information, and confirmed as at the filing of each annual validation or annual renewal.

How will this affect me?

The effect of the BO Register will vary for different groups of persons:

International clients and intermediaries using Guernsey structures

Clients and intermediaries will notice very little change following the introduction of the BO Register.

Such persons are already required to provide beneficial ownership information for the purposes of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, or as a result of the existing beneficial ownership regime. It may be necessary to provide some additional information, and clients may be asked annually to confirm the continued accuracy of the information provided.

Guernsey-based administrators, company secretaries, etc.

Guernsey firms administering Guernsey companies, limited liability partnerships or foundations will need to adjust their procedures so as to ensure that beneficial ownership information is registered on the BO Register at the required time.

The GFSC will be monitoring compliance with the BO Law as part of its ongoing supervision of regulated businesses in the island.

Whilst such firms will already be collecting and maintaining much of the required information in relation to structures that they administer, they will now need to undertake the following additional tasks in relation to entities of which they are the resident agent:

  • Analysing the ownership structure to correctly identify the beneficial owners whose details need to be registered
  • Establishing procedures designed to ensure that when the firm is aware of a change (or possible change) in the beneficial owners or their required particulars, updated information can be requested from beneficial owners and submitted within the statutory timeframes
  • Ensuring that beneficial ownership information is confirmed annually in connection with the submission of annual validations and annual renewal filings
  • Making online registrations of beneficial ownership information and retaining records of such filings

Guernsey-based users of Guernsey legal persons

Guernsey residents who use and operate Guernsey companies without engaging the services of a regulated administration firm (for example, self-administered local trading companies and property holding vehicles, etc.) will need to familiarise themselves with the new regime and the person who is the resident agent will need to make the necessary submissions to the BO Register within the statutory timeframes.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions