Lifting the veil - Beneficial owners to be named as Companies Office introduces new forms tomorrow
With amendments to the Companies Act having taken effect in June, the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) will be rolling out amended company incorporation and annual return forms tomorrow.
Customers using the new forms will now be required to provide the names of persons who are considered beneficial owners of the company, in accordance with the requirements of the act.
Under the act, a beneficial owner is anyone that exercises ultimate ownership of a company or the individual on whose behalf the shares are held or on whose behalf a share transaction is conducted.
"The implementation of the forms on December 18 follows several sensitisation sessions in the Corporate Area, St James, and Mandeville that sought to inform customers of the impending changes and obtain feedback from them as to how the forms could be made more user-friendly," said Judith Ramlogan, CEO of the COJ and Registrar of Companies,
"From these engagement sessions, adjustments were made to ensure that they are user-friendly and capture the specific information required, such as the name, nationality and address of the beneficial owner," added Ramlogan.
A beneficial owner under the amended act must be an individual, even in circumstances where an entity is owned by a company.
"It is part of the mandate to establish a stronger corporate governance structure, an accurate register, and to ensure that persons who are doing business in Jamaica are legitimate operators and not engaging in business for illegitimate purposes.
"Therefore, the inclusion of beneficial owner is to lift the veil, so to speak, on who is really exercising true control of a company," said Ramlogan.