The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (2015/849) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The Directive will come into force on 26 June 2015; and must be transposed into the national laws of the Member States by 26 June 2017. All relevant firms will be required to comply with these national laws from 26 June 2017.

The Directive includes provisions that will require:

  • “corporate and other legal entities … to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, including the details of the beneficial interests held“. These entities will be obliged to make this information available (a) to “obliged entities“, to enable them to carry out their anti-money laundering another other obligations; and (b) for inclusion in a central register that’s accessible to the “competent authorities“, “obliged entities” and “any person or organisation that can demonstrate a legitimate interest” in it; and
  • the “trustees of any express trust [to] obtain and hold adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on beneficial ownership regarding the trust“. This must include information about about the settlor, the trustee(s), the protector (if there is one), the beneficiaries or class of beneficiaries, and “any other natural person exercising effective control over the trust“. This information must also be made available to “obliged entities” and the “competent authorities“, but it will only need to be included in a central register if “the trust generates tax consequences“.

In each case, “By 26 June 2019, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council assessing the conditions and the technical specifications and procedures for ensuring safe and efficient interconnection of the central registers. Where appropriate, that report shall be accompanied by a legislative proposal“.