Ready for the new register of beneficial owners in 2018? bpv Hügel on actions required

New disclosure requirements for companies, private foundations, insurance associations, trusts, associations and cooperatives. Starting in 2018 additionally “beneficial owners” have to be registered.

Vienna / Mödling, 25 September 2017. Initial registrations for the Register of Beneficial Owners are due by 1 June 2018. Thereafter changes have to be reported within a period of 4 weeks. Every year the current state has to be checked.

Companies (GmbH, AG, SE, Cooperatives OG, KG, EEIG), private foundations, insurance associations, trusts and associations are obliged to notify.

Details on name, date of birth, nationality, place of residence, type/extent of beneficial ownership have to be reported.

Beneficial owners are natural persons holding a share exceeding 25%. If a company holds more than 25%, the person holding directly/indirectly more than 50% of such company are qualified as beneficial owner. If no economic owner exists or can be determined, directors, board members, etc. of the company have to be notified instead.

For private foundations, the founders, beneficiaries, foundations and other persons controlling the private foundation have to be registered.

Companies obliged to determine the identity of their customers will have access to the register. Also Lawyers may access the register for advisory purposes.

Action required?

If data can be derived from the Commercial Register (source register), no further registration is required. However, it is important to verify that the data registered with the Commercial Register is correct and up to date.

In all other cases the management bodies must take action, especially for private foundations, stock companies and limited liability companies with multi-level shareholder structures.

The determination of the beneficial owners can be complex and time consuming, in particular in the case of more complex multinational holding structures.