Key Governance Developments - May 2019

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Belgium extends list of entities targeted by ‘Cayman tax’

The Belgian government has approved an extended list of offshore entities to be targeted by the country's so-called Cayman tax if Belgian residents are founders or shareholders. Added to the list are all closely-held Ucits funds that pay less than 15% of their income in tax, and hybrid entities, apart from EEA-based structures that are subject to a foreign tax rate of at least 1%. A total of 66 types of non-EEA structures, including Jersey, Monaco and Swiss foundations, are already targeted by the tax on offshore legal entities, which was established in 2015 and strengthened last year.

Best source: Baker McKenzie 


UK plans company register overhaul to curb money laundering

The UK's Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is planning the biggest overhaul of the country’s official corporate register in 170 years, following allegations that British companies are being used to launder money. Companies House, whose register contains more than 4 million entities, will be given increased power to check information including the identity of individuals setting up companies and their beneficial owners, as well as receiving extra staff and financial resources.

Best source: Financial Times (subscription required)


German asset manager criticises governance at European blue-chip firms

Union Investment, Germany’s third largest asset manager, has criticised corporate governance at Europe’s largest blue-chip companies through a ranking of the constituents of the Stoxx Europe 50 equity index. None of the companies making up the index fully met the fund group's criteria for the independence of their supervisory boards, transparency, diversity and director pay.

Best source: Financial Times (subscription required)

Spanish regulator investigates Ana Botín tweets over retailer financing deal

Spain's Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores is investigating a series of tweets by Ana Botín, CEO of Banco Santander, regarding the last-minute refinancing of Dia, a struggling supermarket retailer. A first tweet from Botín criticised a proposed deal that she said would have favoured bondholders over banks, then she tweeted shortly afterward that an agreement had been reached. The tweets were made during market hours and could have affected the prices of securities related to Dia.

Best source: Expansión (in Spanish)

EU cyber-security directive adopted into Luxembourg law

Luxembourg's Chamber of Deputies has transposed into domestic law the EU cyber-security directive, which requires businesses to take steps to protect their IT systems and formalises reporting procedures. The CSSF is the designated authority for the financial sector, with the Luxembourg Regulatory Institute responsible for other sectors, including energy, transport and postal services. The legislation was approved unanimously by parliament.

Best source: RTL (in French)

See also: RTL