Vince, read this if you want an elegant solution to finding out who owns offshore property

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 by Ed Mead

With the denouement due next week on who will and won’t pay enhanced SDLT and annual levies, newspapers are vying with each other to get on the slippery foreigners buying up London bandwagon.

This morning the Guardian talks about c. 90000 properties in the UK owned by “shadowy” figures. This may or may not be right and I’m not going to have an SDLT rant because it’s boring.


What I will do is to give Vince Cable or whoever cares to listen a simple answer on how to have a traceable paper trail to whoever decides to buy a property offshore that’s already practised by the big landed Estates in central London already, and won’t need complicated and onerous Tax legislation that’ll unnecessarily catch unwitting and law abiding people out.


The Cadogan Estate, Grosvenor Estate and Wellcome Trust, who between them own most of prime central London have many owners who legally buy in the name of offshore companies. However, they insist on these buyers having a UK based guarantor. This guarantor is required to provide bank, professional and personal references which give a traceable paper trail to the owners. In over 30 years I estimate that this puts perhaps 1 in 10 buyers off and I reckon it’s a fair assumption extrapolating from that that maybe only 9000 of the 90000  offshore owners nationally are as shady as the Guardian suggest.


If all overseas buyers were required to follow a similar tried and tested route this would seem to be an elegant solution rather than scaring the s**t out of those who legally own property and are going about leading a quiet life.