Ireland introduces central beneficial ownership register for some investment funds

Out-Law News | 08 Jul 2020 | 1:08 pm | 1 min. read

The Irish government has introduced legislation which designates the Central Bank of Ireland (Central Bank) as the registrar of beneficial ownership for certain collective investment funds.

Existing Irish Collective Asset-management Vehicles (ICAVs) and unit trusts, through their management companies, will be required to register details of their beneficial owners with the bank by 25 December 2020, six months after the Registration of Beneficial Ownership of Certain Financial Vehicles Regulations 2020 came into force.

ICAVs and unit trusts established after the introduction of the new legislation will be required to register details of their beneficial owners with the Central Bank within six months of establishment.

Investment funds expert Aongus McCarthy of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “The introduction of the new regulations formally designating the Central Bank as the registrar of beneficial ownership for ICAVs and unit trusts as anticipated, together with confirmation of the deadlines for the reporting of beneficial ownership information for such fund structures, will bring welcome formal clarification on the matter to industry participants, which has been outstanding for some time.” 

The new Regulations also provide clarification on who constitutes a 'beneficial owner' of a unit trust and defines a threshold level of ownership. Unit trusts must register the details of anynatural person who owns more than 25% of the trust, or where there is, on his or her part, an entitlement to the ultimate control of such a percentage or who can exercise ultimate control over the trust by means of direct or indirect ownership or by other means.

The regulations for funds follow the introduction of a Central Register of Beneficial Ownership (CRBO) for companies last year, with this register overseen by the Companies Registration Office.

In 2017 the EU parliament and the EU council confirmed changes to rules designed to tackle money laundering, making beneficial ownership registers accessible to authorities and professionals subject to anti-money laundering rules, such as banks and lawyers. The EU measures were introduced through an amendment to the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which came into force in June 2015.