From the Foot Report (page 11):
During the course of the consultation, a number of NGOs raised concerns about the extent to which international standards still permit a lack of transparency in the ownership of corporate vehicles in the jurisdictions. This, they feared, facilitated financial crime (including tax evasion).
The Review shares these concerns (which are discussed in chapter 7), but such transparency issues also arise to a greater or lesser extent in most major jurisdictions.
The G20 recognised the need to prioritise work to strengthen standards on customer due diligence, beneficial ownership and transparency at its meeting in Pittsburgh in September 2009.
Although attractive in principle, action by the UK and the nine jurisdictions ahead of changes to international standards would be likely to result in a loss of business to other jurisdictions rather than a resolution of the underlying concerns. The Review has therefore concluded that the UK should take the lead internationally in encouraging improvements to:
‚Ä¢ ‚Äòknow your customer’ international minimum standards (particularly in respect of
the role of ‚Äòeligible introducers’);
‚Ä¢ the monitoring of ‚Äòpolitically exposed persons’ (PEPs); and
‚Ä¢ the transparency of beneficial ownership of companies and trusts.
Good to note:
a) The argument that these places facilitate crime is accepted
b) The need for more transparency on companies and trusts is noted
c) The demand extends to the UK itself.
These are steps in the right direction.