The requirement for Irish corporate and other legal entities (‘companies’) to hold a beneficial ownership register (‘BOR’) came into effect in Ireland on 15 November 2016 pursuant to the European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2016, Statutory Instrument No. 560 of 2016 (the “Regulations”). The Regulations give effect to certain provisions of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and require that companies:
- take “all reasonable steps” to obtain and hold “adequate, accurate and current” information in respect of their beneficial owners and record such information in a BOR; and
- keep the information on beneficial ownership contained in the BOR up to date.
Beneficial owners, for the purpose of the Regulations, are natural person(s) who ultimately own or control the entity through direct or indirect ownership of a sufficient percentage of the shares or voting rights in that entity, or through control by other means.
In addition to maintaining a BOR, companies will be required to file their particulars with the Registrar of Beneficial Ownership at a central depository. The responsibility for the establishment and maintenance of the central register of beneficial ownership of companies and industrial and provident societies is expected to be assigned to the Registrar of Companies, as a separate legal responsibility. The legislation for this assignment is in the draft stages and the central register is expected to be launched during Q4 of 2017.
Upon the launch of the central register of beneficial ownership, it is anticipated that companies will be required to file their particulars through an on-line portal and will be afforded a 3-month grace period during which there will be no breach of statutory duty.
In the meantime
Companies who are captured by the Regulations and who have not by now undertaken a review and established their internal BOR’s should take action ahead of the launch of the central register of beneficial ownership. Companies that fail to comply with the requirements commit an offence and will be liable, upon summary conviction, to a class A fine (max. €5,000).
Should you have any questions in this regard, please get in touch with any of the following people or your usual contact at Cafico International.
D: +353 1 905 8021
M: +353 86 8174741
Head of Legal and Compliance
D: +353 1 905 8579
Head of Company Secretarial
D: +353 1 905 8025
Rodney shares insights from his 20 years’ experience working in the legal and accounting industries with both Irish and international companies. As Managing Director at Cafico International, Rodney regularly works with international companies in the technology, pharma, aviation and insurance industries that are seeking to establish operations in Ireland, assisting them with the management of their projects, and compliance with their fiscal and legal responsibilities.
To learn how Cafico International can help your business expand to Ireland, get in touch with Rodney today.