Authority encourages action to ensure accuracy of beneficial ownership information
Isle of Man-registered companies and other legal entities that fall within the scope of the Beneficial Ownership Act 2017, are being urged to ensure that information recorded on the beneficial ownership database is accurate and up to date.
The Financial Services Authority (‘the Authority’) is working in conjunction with the Central Registry and the Financial Intelligence Unit to spearhead an awareness-raising campaign aimed at improving the quality of entries. Compliance with the legislation also helps to safeguard the Isle of Man’s positive international reputation.
The Central Registry operates a data assurance programme and is grateful for the efforts of nominated officers who maintain the accuracy and timeliness of their submissions.
Where the Central Registry has been unable to address an issue regarding a registration, the details have been referred to the Authority, which has oversight responsibility for compliance with the Act.
From 2023, the Authority will be conducting oversight inspections and will consider imposing financial penalties for any failure to comply with legal requirements in line with its powers under the new Beneficial Ownership (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2022.
There will be a window of opportunity for nominated officers to review the information recorded on the database and complete or update entries where necessary. The Authority is calling for all relevant parties to fulfil their obligations under the Act, rather than face potential enforcement action.
Beneficial ownership information can be submitted quickly and easily via the Central Registry’s companies portal on the Online Services section of the Isle of Man Government website.
Guidance is available on the Authority’s website, while a video explainer highlights the steps that need to be taken to ensure that relevant information is submitted for each natural person owning or controlling more than 25% of the legal entity.
Ian Spence, Head of the Authority’s AML/CFT Division, said: ‘It is essential that obligations are being met in respect of beneficial ownership. All relevant companies and other entities are required to have a nominated officer who is responsible for the accuracy and timeliness of information submitted to the beneficial ownership database. For many smaller firms, the person running the business may well also be the owner and the nominated officer, so the details required are quite straightforward. For some larger, more complex structures a Corporate Services Provider may be appointed to perform the function.’
He added: ‘We are giving all nominated officers the opportunity to review the beneficial ownership details of the entities they represent and make sure that entries are up to date. In some cases, this might just involve a check to ensure the name, details and contact information are accurate in the database. In others, it could be that although the entity has been registered in the companies register the additional step of recording details in the beneficial ownership database may have been missed out when the company was formed.
‘The necessary steps can be completed online, often in just a few minutes. We would much prefer companies to do this proactively, rather than leave themselves open to the possibility of enforcement action and a civil penalty.’