The UK is not only the inventor of the ‘nominee shareholder’, the ‘nominee director’ and of tax evasion through Common Wealth islands. It also pretends to be a forerunner in making beneficial owners transparent. It is providing important input to a new type of mandarin science, the science regarding ‘beneficial owners’, ‘beneficialownerology’.
Beneficial ownership information in the UK
More information on this new science is to be found in publications like this UK government publication Collect, use and exchange beneficial ownership information‘, in which this government declares it is committed to publishing beneficial ownership data in a structured, machine-readable format which meets the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard. Those publishing beneficial ownership data to GOV.UK, have to follow guidance on publishing and managing data.
It shows that harvesting personal data from beneficial owners will become commonplace and that natural persons who are beneficial owner (‘BO’) are not entitled to data protection (even if it is declared that data protection rights are respected).
UK Register of Overseas Entities (ROE)
Another interesting British phenomenon is the ‘Register of Overseas Entities‘ (ROE), that is necessary because in the UK there is no adequate land registry. This register applies to overseas entities that want to buy, sell or transfer property or land in the UK and is based on a new legislation, the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (ECTEA). In the EU a ROE is not necessary, because there are land registers that show the owners of property and land.
The island mentality of the British is reflected in the concept of ‘overseas entities’, which includes the whole of foreign countries. The definition of a beneficial owner is different from the definition in European AML/CFT legislation, see the explanation on this page.
FATF-legislation and EU-proposals on foreign entities
It should be noted that the international undemocratic AML/CFT government, FATF, in March this year has ruled that countries should include in their registers of beneficial owners (‘BO-registers’) foreign entities with a sufficient link to their country. Ownership of real estate is mentioned as an example.
In the European AML Package it is proposed that non-EU legal entities that either enter into a business relationship with an EU obliged entity or acquire real estate in the Union have to register their beneficial owner with the national BO-registers in de EU.
If you are interested in BO-transparancy, look at the site of Open Ownership, a government funded marketing organisation that promotes BO-transparency in the world, read e.d. their ROE article. On their ‘About’ page the legal status (what type of legal entity) is not declared (I have heard it is an entity governed by U.S. law) and no beneficial owner is to be found. They are not transparent about themselves, what makes one think.