The Department of Finance has announced that the much anticipated new statutory instrument (S.I.) dealing with a central register of corporate beneficial ownership is expected to be introduced in the coming months. This S.I. will assign separate and distinct legal responsibility to the Registrar of Companies for the formation and maintenance of the central register of beneficial ownership of both industrial and provident societies (I&Ps) and corporations.

The necessary legal and technical work streams have progressed to an advanced stage according to the Department. Transposition of the beneficial ownership elements of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive into Irish law will occur shortly.

It is expected that both companies and I&Ps will have an extended transition period to make their filings for beneficial ownership, which will begin upon the introduction of the central register.

As it stands, under existing regulations set out in Statutory Instrument No 560 of 15 November 2016, all corporate and legal entities have a duty to hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial owner in their own registers.

By way of recap, the information that companies are required to hold on their beneficial ownership registers pursuant to Regulation 4 of SI 560/2016 is as follows:

  1. the name, date of birth, nationality and residential addresses of each beneficial owner of it (the beneficial owner must be a natural person);
  2. a statement of the nature and extent of the interest held by each such beneficial owner;
  3. the date on which each natural person was entered into the register as a beneficial owner of it;
  4. the date on which each natural person who has ceased to be a beneficial owner of it ceased to be such an owner;
  5. if, having exhausted all possible means and provided there are no grounds for suspicion by the company, no natural persons are identified, or there is any doubt that the persons identified are the beneficial owners, there shall be entered in the register the names of the natural person(s) who hold the position of senior managing official(s) of the company (including their date of birth, nationality and residential addresses). In this case, a company shall keep records of the actions taken in order to identify the beneficial ownership of it.

Further information on the central register of beneficial ownership can also be found here.