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(English) Wedlake Bell On Eu’s Proposed Trust Disclosure Rules

By Camilla Wallace and Edward Craft

Published by Wealth Briefing

August 12th, 2016

Trusts are part of an international drive for great transparency about beneficial ownership and control. A great deal is at stake for Common Law jurisdictions in which trusts are a feature, as this article argues.

Recent years have seen a number of calls for public registers of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts, or other measures to open up information about ownership and control. In the case of trusts, these structures are familiar parts of the English Common Law; public registers raise particularly tricky issues for Common Law jurisdictions such as England, various overseas territories such as the Cayman Islands, as well as Singapore and Hong Kong. Disclosure of beneficial ownership seems a self-evidently “good thing” in an era that craves transparency and abhors secrecy. The Panama Papers saga earlier in the summer reinforced demands for beneficial ownership information. Not every observer of such matters beliefs public registers are the best course (see this article here below). The issue remains controversial – what is the correct dividing line between secrecy, seen as a bad thing, and legitimate privacy, a good thing? And the European Union has weighed in – but how will its directives take effect on the UK, for example, if the country is leaving the European Union following the June Brexit vote?
This article, by Camilla Wallace, partner in the private client team, and Edward Craft, partner in the corporate team, at Wedlake Bell, a UK law firm, examines the issues. The issues are by no mean confined to the UK, and we hope readers in a number of jurisdictions find this article of value.

Recent years have seen a number of calls for public registers of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts, or other measures to open up information about ownership and control. In the case of trusts, these structures are familiar parts of the English Common Law; public registers raise particularly tricky issues for Common Law jurisdictions such as England, various overseas territories such as the Cayman Islands, as well as Singapore and Hong Kong. Disclosure of beneficial ownership seems a self-evidently “good thing” in an era that craves transparency and abhors secrecy. The Panama Papers saga earlier in the summer reinforced demands for beneficial ownership information. Not every observer of such matters beliefs public registers are the best course (see this article here below). The issue remains controversial – what is the correct dividing line between secrecy, seen as a bad thing, and legitimate privacy, a good thing? And the European Union has weighed in – but how will its directives take effect on the UK, for example, if the country is leaving the European Union following the June Brexit vote?This article, by Camilla Wallace, partner in the private client team, and Edward Craft, partner in the corporate team, at Wedlake Bell, a UK law firm, examines the issues. The issues are by no mean confined to the UK, and we hope readers in a number of jurisdictions find this article of value.

http://sites.morimor.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/20/2016/08/On-EUs-Proposed-Trust-Disclosure-Rules-Aug-2016.pdf

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