- by Patrick Cooney on 09/01/2020

As you probably know, in order to fulfil 'Know Your Customer' KYC requirements under AMLD4 and now the 5th, as an obliged entity you are now required to take steps to identify individuals holding over 25% of the shares of a company you are dealing with - the Beneficial Owners (BO).

Reading the above, if you're thinking that sounds technical and tricky... you would be right. In many cases you must travel through many layers of a shareholding 'Family Tree' to find the person who really reaps the benefits of ownership of a company. Especially if you are dealing with larger companies. In addition to this, all companies in Ireland are now required to file beneficial ownership information with the newly established Register of Beneficial Ownership (RBO). This too can often be complicated, not to mention time consuming, especially if you don't have the BO and UBO details to hand.

So who is a Beneficial Owner?

To put it simply, an Ultimate Beneficial Owner is the person(s) who ultimately holds the power and receives the benefits from a company. As mentioned this person or persons can sometimes only be found after going through multiple shareholdings, of multiple companies. AMLD4 defines this as a natural person who owns at least 25% of a company.

As per the directive it is essential for "all companies formed and registered under the Companies Act 2014" to submit adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial owners to the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership (RBO). So to answer the question who needs to file BO information, the answer is every company. Given the complexity of identifying and delivering BO and UBO data it's not surprising that according to CRO.ie 30.7% of companies still have not registered. (1) In addition to that, if you are an obliged entity under AMLD4 you must also identify this information on your customers. Fear not, we can help.

CRIF Vision-net to the rescue!

CRIF Vision-net have both manual and batch solutions to help you identify BO of the companies in your client base. Our KYC reports, are an upgraded shareholder report that uncovers the person(s) who benefit from the revenue any such company generates. Different to a standard shareholder report which focuses on the immediate shareholders of a company, a KYC report traverses beyond this, and looks at each company or person who is a shareholder all the way back until the Ultimate Beneficial Owner is found. Nice, simple and easy to follow.

Substantial cost and time savings can be achieved by avoiding the need to manually identify the beneficial owner information on your client base, through our batch processing beneficial owner's solution. This low cost solution, uses our matching technology to pair your customer records with their official legal entity. Once this stage is complete it then appends a CRO number to your customer records and drills through each company until the ultimate beneficial owner is discovered within its Irish and UK operations. You give us the file and we return it enriched with the latest data on the entities

Why Do I Need To File BO Data?

The RBO was set up to '"improve corporate trust and transparency" in Ireland by making the information about who ultimately owns and controls Irish companies/societies clear and available to law enforcement agencies, regulators and the public.The deadline for existing companies to submit their UBO details to the RBO was 30th Nov 2019 however, according to CRO.ie 30.7% of companies still have not registered. Unfortunately, if a company does not file their UBO information they may be fined anywhere from E5,000 to E500,000. The good news is the RBO remains open to accept applications and there are no paper forms or fees.

(1) www.cro.ie/Registration/Beneficial-Ownership

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