The Companies Act (Register of Beneficial Owners) Regulations came into force on 1st January 2018 (the “Regulations”). These Regulations were recently amended to transpose certain provisions of the Fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (the “5AMLD”) into Maltese law.
The most notable change brought about the 5AMLD relates to the accessibility of beneficial ownership information in respect of various entities which obliges member states to make the information on the beneficial ownership of companies registered therein freely accessible by members of the general public. Accordingly, Regulation 7 of the Regulations as amended, now provides that members of the general public are to also have access to beneficial ownership information of companies but only to the name, the month and year of birth and the country of residence and nationality of the beneficial owner as well as the nature and extent of the beneficial interest held. This specific amendment has come into force on the 1st January 2020 and the Malta Business Registry online portal was very recently updated to cater for this amendment and now allows persons to access beneficial ownership information against a minimal fee.
Access to beneficial ownership information may be partially or fully restricted where it is shown, by means of documentary evidence, that such access would expose the beneficial owner to disproportionate risk, risk of kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation or where the beneficial owner is a minor or otherwise legally incapable. In any case, access to beneficial ownership information may not be restricted for credit and financial institutions or to subject persons (as defined under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations)
Following the publication of the Companies Act (Register of Beneficial Owners) Regulations, 2017, Fenlex has during the course of 2018/2019 assisted numerous client companies registered in Malta to maintain a register of their respective ultimate beneficial owners, together with the preparation and presentation of such information to the Malta Business Registry by means of filling in and presenting the prescribed beneficial ownership form. Should you have not as yet filed said form with information pertaining to your company, please do get in touch as we would be more than happy to assist.