On Tuesday, the British parliament voted to add an amendment to the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill to require 14 overseas territories, among them the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, to implement public ownership registers by 2020.
The bipartisan amendment was introduced by the Labour Party’s Margaret Hodge and the Conservative Party’s Andrew Mitchell. The Hodge-Mitchell Amendment is an effort to fight corruption and money laundering in the U.K.’s offshore territories.
The amendment is part of a renewed push at both the E.U. and national levels to increase transparency of beneficial ownership information. On the E.U. level, the recently-adopted 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive requires that member states establish registers of beneficial ownership information and make that information accessible shortly after the entry into force of the directive.
Experts have speculated about how member states will transpose the 5th AMLD into domestic law. With Brexit looming, the U.K. has been particularly subject to such scrutiny. The passage of the Hodge-Mitchell amendment suggests that the U.K. is committed to ensuring cross-border cooperation and harmonization of AML laws with its E.U. counterparts.