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KPMG Hired to Review Overseas Territories Regulation

Tax-news.com

05 January 2000


The UK Government has hired international consultants KPMG to conduct a review of offshore banking and financial services regulation in Bermuda and its Caribbean overseas territories.

The review will cover Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos, and will cover practices and legislation in the banking, insurance, securities', and companies' and trusts' offshore sectors. The review will also focus on the role of the dependent territories' legislation and regulatory authorities in international co-operation on anti-money laundering measures.

It is expected that KPMG will report by July 2000 and recommend an action plan for any improvements required in the dependent territories to deflect pressure from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, who currently include a number of the territories in its blacklist of "harmful tax regimes''. A similar review of Britain's Channel Island offshore centres was conducted last year resulting in the Edwards Report.

The appointment of KPMG to conduct a review follows publication of a White Paper by Britain in 1999 on improving its relations with its overseas territories.

The Governments of the dependent territories have given their full support to the review, which they see as an opportunity to clean up their image as havens for tax evasion and financial crime. Indeed, leaders of the territories have expressed hope that the review will demonstrate that they are better regulated than the OECD and some of its member countries are claiming.

In announcing the review, Foreign Office junior Minister Baroness Scotland endorsed this aim: "The appointment of a review team is timely and further demonstrates the territories' commitment to being well-regulated financial centres."

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