NEWS ALERT: Changes to UBO register: adequate, detailed, up-to-date, and hopelessly confusing

NEWS ALERT: Changes to UBO register: adequate, detailed, up-to-date, and hopelessly confusing

Following the much-needed clarification on the technical difficulties and FAQs about the legislation as well as the registration platform, the parliament adopted a supplemental royal decree on 23 September 2020. This decree (the “Royal Decree”) amends the earlier royal decree on the operating modes of the UBO register.

Those of you who have already experienced any governmental application understand that it seemed easier for the government to align the legislation with the application than to align the platform with the legislation …

That’s why, starting from 11 October 2020, when the Royal Decree entered into force, it is compulsory to register the participation interest percentages of intermediate entities also. An action that was already necessary in practice.

Besides this and several other technical changes set out in the Royal Decree, there are two more significant changes.

The most important one concerns the obligation to submit supporting documents from now on that relate to the registered UBO. The wording in the Royal Decree does not clarify what kinds of documents would be considered to be supporting documents, but rather obscures this in the broad definition, which reads: “any document demonstrating that the information relating to an ultimate beneficiary is adequate, detailed, and up-to-date.”

The second important change is that access to the register is widened, and this in terms of who may access it as well as the type of information available. Basically, from now on, any citizen has access to a large amount of information registered in the UBO register (which has always been the objective but is now effectively so). This means you don’t even have to demonstrate that you have any interest or standing to access it, although there still is some differentiation between access to information regarding companies, local and international non-profit associations, and other forms of legal entities.

In addition, it is now possible to retrieve historical information about the registrations as well as the identity of the individual who has performed the registration.

It remains to be seen whether this broadening undermines the principle of proportionality and/or whether we should not expect any subsequent change to the obligations regarding the UBO register in the near future.

The changes apply to all reporting agents from now on, but the reporting agents who performed registrations before 11 October 2020 have until 30 April 2021 to upload the required documents.

Do you still have questions about this?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your usual point of contact or to our UBO team via

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