IPSA welcomes the recent decision by the Minister for Finance to exempt pensions and certain employee share plans from the scope of the new European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Trusts) Regulations 2021 (the “Regulations”).
The Regulations, which came into effect on 24 April 2021, apply to express trusts with some exclusions – approved pension schemes, ARFs, approved profit-sharing schemes, trusts for restricted shares, unit trusts on the central register of ICAVs credit unions, and unit trusts and any trust the minister for finance designates as excluded. These are set out in section 106ZC of the Criminal Justice and Money Laundering Act 2010 (as amended in 2021).
The Regulations require the trustees of express trusts to set up and maintain a register of beneficial owners. The Regulations also include provisions around a central trusts register – obligations to report to it and who can access it. The Regulations revoke the old 2019 regulations, which had placed a requirement on trustees to set up a register of beneficial owners but did not have any provisions in relation to a central register. Key points in relation to the register of beneficial owners include the following:
- The central trusts register will not be publicly accessible, but rather access is limited to those who have a legitimate interest.
- The regulations came into effect on 24th April and revoke the old 2019 regulations, which had placed a requirement on trustees to set up a register of beneficial owners but did not have any provisions in relation to a central register.
- The Revenue will appoint a registrar to operate the central register.
- There is to be a six-month deadline for reporting to the central register – six months from the date of the Regulations for trusts already in existence and six months from the set-up of a new trust going forward.
- There appears to be relieving provisions regarding the central register where a trust is part of an arrangement where the beneficial owners are already included in the central register for companies or where the information is already on a central trust register of another EU member state.