Legislation – Isle of Man boosts regulation

Isle of Man financial regulators will take charge of enforcing insider dealing legislation and company law in a move designed to strengthen regulation on the island ahead of the Home Office review of offshore financial supervision.

The island’s government, the Tynwald, has also instructed the local Financial Supervision Commission to press ahead with drafting new rules that will lead to regulation of company formation agents.

Helen Hatton, the commission’s head of enforcement, said the local council of ministers wanted to bring financial regulation under one roof.

‘The review began after a paper from the commission was passed to the council of ministers recommending a series of rule changes. A working party was formed and this has clarified the improvements required.’

Until now, breaches of the Companies Act were prosecuted by the island’s Attorney General, and insider dealing policed by the local Treasury. But the Tynwald has been accused of failing to give any regulator the power or resources to enforce the compliance rules.

Company formation agents were singled out by the National Criminal Intelligence Service as a ‘weak link’ in the battle against money laundering in its last annual report.

In the scandal involving Italian oil company Agip, reported last week in Accountancy Age, two Manx accountants who used ‘shelf companies’ were accused of taking part in a money laundering operation.

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