If passed into law, the amendment would mean it would be mandatory for those who own the assets in companies registered in the overseas territories and Crown dependencies to be identified on the public-register.
The territories include the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Bermuda. While the Crown dependencies are Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
The UK government has not disclosed its position on the amendment, but it is understood it has support from a number of Labour and Tory MPs.
Secrecy vs transparency
In recent years the UK government has come under increasing pressure to impose greater levels of transparency on its offshore jurisdictions, as many strongly enforce client confidentiality and privacy laws.
Critics have argued this lack of transparency has allowed the super-rich to hide their wealth and assisted money-laundering practices in the jurisdictions.
Jersey hits back
However, Jersey chief minister Ian Gorst told the Jersey Evening Post the island would resist the amendment if passed into law.
“It is unnecessary to extend the UK bill to Jersey, since we already have legislation in place for sharing beneficial-ownership information for law enforcement purposes,” he said.
“The government of Jersey will consider the question of a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership in its own time and with Jersey’s interests in mind.”
Gorst argued the move would be unconstitutional and impossible for the UK to impose on the island.
“We are not represented in the UK Parliament, and it is an agreed constitutional position that the UK does not legislate for Jersey. We would expect this convention to be observed and would resist the registration of any order in council issued in breach of our constitutional arrangements,” Gorst said.