Register of Beneficial Owners – Malta update

The Companies Act (Register of Beneficial Owners) Regulations 2017 came into force on 1st January 2018 and implements the requirements of beneficial ownership information to be held according to EU Directive 2015/849.

In addition to the mandatory documents required for registration, all new companies registered in Malta after 1st January 2018 will also be required to submit additional information giving relevant details pertaining to the ultimate beneficial owner/s. The purpose of this is to provide personal details, the degree of beneficial interest held, and must also be signed by the proposed director/s.

The Beneficial Ownership Register is to be listed via the Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) website. Access to this register will be available to eligible persons as from 1 April 2018 (an eligible person is an individual or company holding an account with the Malta Registry of Companies).

All corporate partnerships must have accurate and up to date information regarding all beneficial owners, and those companies registered before 1st January 2018 must comply with the new regulations by making sure that their records are correct, with 30th June 2018 as the deadline for ensuring correct data.

By definition according to the MFSA website, a ‘beneficial owner includes any natural person or persons who: (I) ultimately own or control, whether through direct or indirect ownership or control, including, where applicable, through bearer share holdings, more than 25% of the shares or voting rights on that company; or (ii) otherwise exercise control over the management of that company.’

If the new company has no discernible beneficial owner/s, a declaration may be submitted in place if the requisite forms.

The only exemption given for not providing the required documents or declaration is where all of registered shareholder’s details are listed on the Memorandum & Articles of Association which has the intention of being used to register the company.

Access to the new register will be granted to authorised personnel as of 1st April 2018.

 

Written by Heather McNamara, Client Services