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Cyprus: Proposed ASP Law amendments

Elias Neocleous
The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has announced a number of proposed amendments to the Laws Regulating Companies providing Administrative Services and Related Matters of 2012 and 2013 (the ASP Law), following discussions between the Ministry of Finance, the troika of providers of international financial support to Cyprus, and the competent authorities (namely, the Cyprus Bar Association, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus and CySEC). The proposed amendments aim to address practical issues that have emerged, and to meet the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding with the troika.

There are several main proposed amendments, the first being that occupational retirement benefit funds (under the supervision of the Registrar of Occupational Retirement Benefit Funds in accordance with the Establishment, Activities and Supervision of Occupational Retirement Benefit Funds Law of 2012) are explicitly excluded from the scope of the ASP Law.

Another proposed amendment is that the role of the protector of a trust will be excluded from the scope of the ASP Law, on the basis that the protector is a person who the settlor appoints to exercise oversight in a personal capacity; since the trustee is regulated, there is no real need for the protector to be regulated.

An ambiguity in the ASP Law, which might be interpreted as indicating that officers acting as signatories of bank accounts of certain companies must be authorised again under the ASP Law, is removed by the proposed amendments.

Further, Cypriot companies offering administrative services only to fellow members of the group of which they are a member and private trust companies belonging to the beneficiaries of the trust or their close relatives (spouses or relatives up to the fourth degree of kinship), are excluded from the scope of the ASP Law, provided that they have a representative in Cyprus who is accessible and accountable for anti-money laundering purposes.

Foreign providers of custodian services that are appropriately regulated in their home jurisdiction are excluded from the scope of the ASP Law under the proposed amendment, and the information to be contained in the registers maintained by the competent authorities will be defined in greater detail.

The amendments will take effect once the amending law has been enacted and published in the official gazette.

Elias Neocleous

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