The Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons (Guernsey) Law 2017 came into force on August 15 2017. From that date, the incorporation or creation of any Guernsey entity requires details of its beneficial owner to be submitted to the Guernsey registrar of beneficial ownership of legal persons. Existing Guernsey entities must do the same by October 31 2017, with the exception of companies, which have until February 2018.
The Companies Law contains provisions relevant to the migration of companies into and out of Guernsey. For example, whether migrating into or out of Guernsey, the law requires a formal application to migrate to be made to the registrar of companies. However, where a company intends to be or is already a 'supervised company' – that is, a company which requires regulation by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission – written consent from the commission must be obtained.
New amendments to the Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008 entered into force on September 3 2015 following approval by the States of Guernsey. Transitional regulations will assist this change process. Key amendments include simplifying the distribution process and providing greater certainty in relation to its operation, and allowing certain companies to waive the requirement to prepare directors' reports if members pass a waiver resolution.
The Commerce and Employment Department has released a consultation document regarding possible changes to the Companies (Guernsey) Law. Many of the proposed changes aim to clarify existing provisions. The consultation generally appears to be a fine-tuning exercise aimed at improving the provisions of a law which is already regarded as taking a modern approach to company law issues.
Although the existing law on limited partnerships in Guernsey functions well, as part of a general review of the jurisdiction's commercial laws, the States of Guernsey has taken the opportunity to propose amendments to the law in order to increase its flexibility and certainty, thereby ensuring that Guernsey remains a frontrunner for those seeking to establish limited partnerships.
A proposal to introduce limited liability partnerships (LLPs) into Guernsey law has been approved by the government. Guernsey's LLP regime will bear some similarities to that of the United Kingdom. Although their use will not be limited in scope, it is expected that the LLPs will mostly appeal to practitioners in professional firms who currently work within a general partnership.
The entry into force of the Companies Law 2008 brought a significant change to the types of company that still require a statutory audit. It also introduced a different process for adopting the extended exemptions from audit now allowed. While the number of companies that can qualify for audit exemption has increased, the potential for missing critical filing deadlines has grown.
The Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008 is new legislation which primarily consolidates existing law but will also incorporate a number of improvements. It was approved by the States of Guernsey (the island's government) on January 30 2008 and is now awaiting royal assent. It is expected to enter into force no later than July 1 2008.
There has long been an awareness of the need for a comprehensive overhaul of company law that would integrate and consolidate all existing amendments as well as ensuring the highest international standards. Proposals have been put forward to revise completely Guernsey's company law. This update lists major and other proposed changes.