UK ahead of the curve on transparency

19 / 07 / 2016

Before the Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive comes into force and shortly after the UK referendum vote, the European Commission has made a proposal to amend the directive and accelerate its implementation.

Notwithstanding, the recent UK referendum vote, the changes to company law introduced under Part 21A Companies Act 2006 (registers of persons with significant control), in force since 6 April 2016 already go a very long way to implement these new requirements.

The key additional requirements are:

  • to put in place central publicly available registers of beneficial ownership;
  • to further amend the very cumbersome definition of beneficial ownership, setting a 10% materiality threshold in some cases, rather than more than 25% in all other cases; and
  • to accelerate the transposition date of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive by seven months to 1 January 2017.

We wait to see if this proposal is then adopted by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.  If it is, companies will have a very short time to adjust to the new regime.

In addition, readers may also be interested to learn that Guernsey has recently closed its consultation on its proposals for a central register.  The notable difference between the Guernsey approach and that espoused by the UK government is that Guernsey proposes for the register to be closed, available to regulators but not open to public access.

For further information please contact Edward Craft or a member of the Corporate Team.