A new filing requirement to list the PPS number of each individual on the central register of beneficial owners will come into effect in the final quarter of 2021, a recent Mason Hayes and Curran webinar heard.
Where the beneficial owner is not resident in the State, other documents – such as passports – may be used.
The webinar (16 September), which examined the first two years of the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies and Industrial and Provident Societies, heard that there had been some difficulties in arranging in-person notarisation of forms, due to the pandemic.
The Companies Registration Office is responsible for maintaining the central register, and its online portal eliminates the need for hard copies, and posting documents.
The register has two access tiers, with unrestricted access open to competent authorities set out in the regulations – such as an Garda Siochana, Revenue, CAB, and the Central Bank.
Designated persons obliged to conduct anti-money-laundering due diligence on clients are also entitled to full access.
Access can be requested in writing by those engaged in the prevention, detection or investigation of money-laundering or terrorist-financing offences.
The second tier is open to any designated person required to conduct customer due diligence, and this is also available to the general public.
Investment funds must supply the same information to the register – including the name, residential address, date of birth and nationality of beneficial owners, and the nature and extent of the interest held in the fund.
Details of beneficial ownership can be obtained by sending an email request to a dedicated email address operated by the Central Bank.
There is no charge for a search.
The filing deadline is 23 October for trusts established after 23 April this year.
Companies which fail to provide beneficial-ownership detail are liable to fines of up to €500,000, the webinar heard.
Compliance, however, has been reasonably good, the webinar heard, with up to 80% of registered companies and 64% of industrial entities making filings.
This reflects compliance with the initial filing obligations, but doesn’t give an indication of whether filings have been kept up to date, which is more difficult to measure, the webinar heard.
The level of compliance or newly incorporated companies seems lower since the initial rollout in 2019, the webinar also heard.