G-20 agrees beneficial ownership principles: G-20 has endorsed a set of principles for transparency of beneficial ownership. It wants all members to commit to implementing the principles and making any necessary changes to their laws, regulations and practices to enable this. The principles require:

  • a definition of "beneficial owner" that captures the natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls the legal person or legal arrangement;
  • assessment of the existing and emerging risks associated with different types of legal persons and arrangements, with appropriate information sharing and risk mitigation measures following the assessment. This would include identification of high risk countries;
  • beneficial ownership information that is adequate, accurate, and current to be kept onshore;
  • regulators to have timely access to adequate, accurate and current information regarding the beneficial ownership of legal persons, for example through central registries of beneficial ownership;
  • trustees to keep adequate, accurate and current beneficial ownership information, including information of settlors, the protector (if any) trustees and beneficiaries;
  • regulators to have timely access to adequate, accurate and current information on the beneficial ownership of legal arrangements;
  • financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses, including trust and company service providers, to identify and take reasonable measures, including taking into account country risks, to verify the beneficial ownership of their customers. Legislation should provide appropriate sanctions for non-compliance;
  • appropriate co-operation and information sharing between authorities internationally; and
  • taking measures to prohibit bearer shares and other legal persons and legal arrangements which may obstruct transparency, and ensuring that legal persons which allow nominee shareholders or nominee directors are not misused.

(Source: G-20 Agrees Beneficial Ownership Principles)