The FATF has released new guidance on the beneficial ownership of legal persons. Following the agreement made at the FATF Plenary to strengthen its beneficial ownership [“BO”] standards under Recommendation 24, the new guidance is designed to help countries identify, design and implement appropriate measures to ensure that BO information is maintained and can be accessed efficiently.

The guidance provides further insights into areas including:

  • What to look for in identifying and verifying adequate and accurate BO information;
  • Company and registry approaches;
  • Mechanisms and sources for obtaining BO information;
  • Prevention of issuance of new bearer shares and bearer shares warrants misuse;
  • Prevention of nominee arrangements misuse;
  • Applicability of relevant regulatory regimes, including Trust and Company Service Providers and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions.

As Regulatory focus increasingly shifts to BO in the UK with forthcoming MLR enforcements and the recently created Register of Overseas Entities at Companies House, the FATF report further illustrates the importance of ownership transparency to ML/TF prevention and mitigation.  Firms should read the guidance to learn more about beneficial ownership identification and its pivotal role in AML/CTF.

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