Beneficial Ownership Register
In addition to the Companies (Accounting) Bill 2016, the Department of Finance has just published the European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2016 (“the 2016 Regulations”) which creates a requirement for companies (including companies limited by guarantee) to maintain a beneficial ownership register.
This places an obligation on corporate and other legal entities incorporated within the State to hold adequate, accurate and current information of their beneficial ownership, including details of the beneficial owner’s name, date of birth, nationality and residential address.
A “Beneficial Owner” is defined as an individual who ultimately holds more than 25% ownership or control of a company.
The 2016 Regulations therefore create greater transparency in respect of corporate ownership and limit the benefit of having shares held in trust by another individual/entity.
The 2016 Regulations have a commencement date of 15 November 2016 and Irish companies are required to create and maintain an internal beneficial ownership register from this date. Companies will also be required to submit details of beneficial ownership to a central register, which is required to be established by 26 June 2017 under the 2016 Regulations. Company Directors and Secretaries should therefore ensure that a beneficial ownership register is prepared on behalf of the company, as soon as possible.