In October 2017, the Belgian Anti-Money Laundering Act (Belgian AML Act) entered into force. Published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 14 August 2018, one of its most significant features is the establishment of a central register with the Ministry of Finance, housing information on Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) of all non-listed companies incorporated in Belgium.
Who is affected by this legislation?
Companies in scope are:
- all types of companies
- (international) not-for-profit associations and foundations
- trustees of a trust
What is an Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO)?
A UBO is:
- an individual who ultimately owns or controls more than 25% of the shares or votes
- an individual exercising similar control in a Belgian legal entity
- the natural person(s) who hold(s) the position of senior managing official(s), if, after having exhausted all other means of identification, and provided there are no grounds for suspicion, none of the aforementioned persons is identified or if it is not sure that the person(s) identified is/are the beneficial owner(s)
What information is registered?
Information to be filed and kept in the register is:
- First and last name, birthday, nationality, resident address & country
- Individual ID number
- UBO start date
- UBO category, alone or jointly
- Direct / indirect UBO
- For indirect UBO's: the number of
intermediary entities and their full identification
Interest in the Belgian entity
Special information is required for ASBL's/VZW's, foundations, trusts and similar legal arrangements located or managed out of Belgium.
How is the information submitted?
The information is to be submitted via the online MyMinFinPro-Portal which contains the UBO application.
Who can access the register?
- Any competent authority
- Financial and credit institutions and other market players within the framework of their AML obligations
- Any person or entity that can demonstrate a legitimate interest
After a number of postponements, the obligation to register ownership information will need to be completed by 30 September 2019. Post-registration changes to the ownership information need to be completed within one month following the change.
The law provides for fines ranging between EUR 50 to EUR 50,000, which could be imposed to the legal entity or its legal representative that fail to comply with aforementioned obligations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.