Register of Beneficial Ownership – Proposed Amendments

The European Parliament and European Council are currently considering a new anti-money laundering directive known as MLD5. If approved, MLD5 would amend the Fourth EU Anti-money Laundering Directive (MLD4) and would include further rules concerning the beneficial ownership of corporate entities.

What changes are proposed?

The proposed changes to beneficial ownership under MLD5 would introduce the following additional rules:

  • Public access to each EU Member State central register of beneficial ownership of corporate entities. 
  • Interconnection between the national registers of beneficial ownership of each relevant EU Member States. 
  • The competent authorities of EU Member States are to be given increased powers to ensure national registers of beneficial ownership are accurate and up to date. 
  • The relevant EU Member State competent authorities, law enforcement, financial institutions and certain entities that have a “legitimate interest” may inspect the national registers of beneficial ownership of trusts.

Current Requirements under MLD4

Ireland has decided to implement MLD4 in different stages. The initial stage, which requires all Irish companies to obtain and maintain up-to-date information on their beneficial owners, is provided for in regulations introduced in November 2016. We understand that the next stage of implementation, which would provide for the creation of the central register of beneficial ownership of corporate and other legal entities in Ireland (the Central Register), is expected in the first half of 2018.

Filings to the Companies Registration Office

The Companies Registration Office (CRO) will have responsibility for maintaining the Irish Central Register. It is expected that Irish companies will have an extended period of up to three months from the Irish Central Register’s go live date to file information after which they may be found to be in breach of the relevant regulations.

The CRO has provided a sample of the information (subject to change) that it believes will be required to be filed with it once regulations are passed that will provide for the creation of the Irish Central Register.

Our Corporate Compliance Department is available to help in taking the next steps to ensure compliance with the obligations in relation to disclosure of beneficial ownership. 

We can advise Irish companies on the measures to be taken to obtain the relevant information, to create and maintain a register of beneficial owners and as soon as the Irish Central Register is established, make the appropriate filings with the CRO.

Talk to us. If you would like to discuss how your business may be effected, please contact Paul Martin, or call (01) 6440100.