Feb 4, 2020

UBO Register: time to act

UBO Register: time to act

The Ultimate Beneficial Owners’ Register established under the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive of the European Union is a country-specific central register that lists beneficial owners of companies, trusts, foundations, and other legal arrangements similar to trusts.

The information required to be submitted for each UBO in the national register of natural persons (UBO Register):

  • family name and first name(s);
  • date (day, month and year) and place of birth;
  • citizenship(s) and country of residence;
  • precise private or professional address;
  • personal identification number;
  • series and number of identity card;
  • nature and extent of beneficial interest held in the registered entity (control exercised over the company).

EU member states are required to produce centralized ultimate beneficial owner registers, declared by the companies and/or providers. Although it was previously stated that it is highly unlikely that the databases will be made public, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have recently agreed on an amendment to the Directive in the form of a 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive which makes it mandatory for the register to be public:

‘Public access by way of compulsory disclosure of certain information on the beneficial ownership of companies, trusts and other entities and legal arrangements provides additional guarantees to third parties wishing to do business with those companies. Certain Member States have taken steps or announced their intention to make information contained in registers of beneficial ownership available to the public. The fact that not all Member States would make information publicly available or differences in the information made available and its accessibility may lead to different levels of protection of third parties in the Union. In a well-functioning internal market, there is a need for coordination to avoid distortions. Therefore, such information should be publicly available in all the Member States.’ – The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union

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