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General - Money Services Business

What is a Money Service Business?

Under the Money Services Act (2010 Revision), the term money services business is defined as:

The business of providing (as a principal business) any or all of the following services:

Money transmission;
Cheque cashing;
Currency exchange;
The issuance or, sale or redemption of money orders or travellers checks; Such other services as the Governor in Council may specify by notice published in the Gazette; or
The business of operating as an agent or franchise holder of a business mentioned under (1).

The MSL, as well as other key laws and regulations, can be found at the Acts and Regulations webpage.

Kindly note that copies of the various laws and regulations are provided for informational purposes only. Official copies of the laws and regulations can be obtained from the The Legislative Department at minimal cost.

There are currently five (5) licensed money services businesses operating in the Cayman Islands. However, only three money services businesses are currently active.

Ongoing Requirements - Money Services Business

See the Money Services Business Fees page for information on money services business fees. All licensees are required to pay an annual fee on or before 15 January each year.

Under the Money Services Law (2010 Revision), Section 10:

Every Licensee shall have the accounts of its money services business audited annually or at such other times as the Authority may require by an auditor, who shall be a chartered accountant, a certified public accountant, or some other professionally qualified accountant, approved by the Authority.

The audited accounts shall be forwarded to the Authority within three months of the end of the financial year of the licensee’s money services business, unless prior written approval for an extension has been granted by the Authority.

Licensees are required to submit quarterly returns to the Authority as well as annual audited financial statements within 3 months of the business’ financial year-end.

The Authority should be formally notified of all appointments, resignations, or removals of directors and senior officers.

Unless an exemption was granted, licensees must also receive the prior approval of the Authority before appointing directors or senior officers. In carrying out its assessment of fitness and propriety, the Authority requires the following minimum documentation:

1. A completed Personal Questionnaire form; 
2. Two character references;
3. One financial reference;
4. A police clearance certificate, sworn affidavit or other certificate satisfactory to the Authority, must be obtained from the last country of residence where the person was ordinarily resident for at least 12 months, and state that the person has not been convicted of a serious crime or any offence involving dishonesty.

Where an exemption has been granted, licensees should ensure that an updated Personal Questionnaire form and a police clearance certificate/sworn affidavit are forwarded to the Authority.

See: Regulatory Procedure on Assessing Fitness and Propriety

The same requirements applicable to the appointment of directors and managers apply to the appointment/ change in shareholders/ beneficial interest. A letter outlining the name(s) of the new shareholder(s) along with completed personal questionnaire(s), three references (at least one character and one financial) and a Police Clearance Certificate or its equivalent, for the individual(s) seeking to be appointed should be submitted.

Licensing - Money Services Business

Please refer to the Licensing Requirements section for guidance. The legal requirements for obtaining a money services business licence are detailed in the Money Services Law (2010 Revision), the Money Services Businesses Regulations, 2001, and the Money Services Businesses (Amendment) Regulations, 2009, located on the Acts and Regulations webpage.

Under Section 17 of the Money Services Law (2010 Revision), every licensee shall at no time have less than two directors.

(1) A completed Personal Questionnaire;
(2)  The annual accounts, for the 2 years immediately preceding the year of application, of each major shareholder that is a corporate body, together with similar accounts for the parent body, where appropriate;
(3) Two character references;
(4) One financial reference; and 
(5) A police clearance/sworn affidavit or other certificate satisfactory to the Authority that they have not been convicted of a serious crime or any offence involving dishonesty.

See: Regulatory Procedure on Assessing Fitness and Propriety for additional information.  

As per Section 17(2) of the Money Services Law (2010 Revision), in determining whether a person is "fit and proper", the Authority will consider a person's:

(a) honesty, integrity and reputation;

(b) competence and capability; and

(c) financial soundness. 

See both the Regulatory Policy and Procedure on Fitness and Propriety  

When a complete application has been submitted, the time-frame for processing an application is approximately four to six weeks.

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