New Obligations Imposed On Trusts To Maintain A Register Of Beneficial Owners

Author:Mr Keith Waine
Profession:Dillon Eustace


The Department of Finance has published the European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Trusts) Regulations 2019 which came into effect on 29 January 2019.

The AML Regulations transpose into Irish law certain paragraphs of Article 31 of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (EU 2015/849) ("MLD4") requiring obligations to be imposed on trustees of trusts to identify beneficial owners. This follows the publication of largely similar legislation requiring corporate entities to identify their beneficial owners and create and maintain a beneficial ownership register in November 2016.

It is worth noting that the AML Regulations clarify that in the case of a collective investment scheme, obligations imposed on trustees under the legislation are imposed on the manager of the relevant fund.

Obligation to obtain and hold beneficial ownership information

The AML Regulations require trustees to take "all reasonable steps" to obtain and hold "adequate, accurate and current information" in respect of the beneficial owners of the trust. This information must include the name, date of birth, nationality and residential address of each beneficial owner.

A "beneficial owner" is defined by reference to MLD4 which provides that the beneficial owner of a trust is any natural person who ultimately owns or controls the customer and/or the natural person(s) on whose behalf a transaction or activity is being conducted, and includes at least:

the settlor; the trustee; the protector, if any the beneficiaries, or where the individuals benefiting from the legal arrangement or entity have yet to be determined, the class of persons in whose main interest the legal arrangement or entity is set up or operates; any other natural person exercising ultimate control over the trust by means of direct or indirect ownership or by other means. Obligation to create and maintain a Beneficial Ownership Register

The trustee (or manager in the case of a collective investment scheme) must establish a beneficial ownership register (the "Register") which must contain details of all beneficial owners of the trust as well as information on the date on which each beneficial owner was entered on the register and, where applicable, the date on which any such person ceased to be a beneficial owner of the trust. The Register must be kept...

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