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Topic 1: Anti Money Laundering & Registries Transparency
Registries Transparency refers to the transparency and accessibility of basic and beneficial ownership information of all legal entities. Registries are essential for preventing money laundering and other financial crimes as they make it harder for criminals to hide their assets and identities behind anonymous corporate structures and act as gatekeeper to the jurisdictions they represent. Governments and financial institutions worldwide are increasingly focusing on AML and Registries Transparency to combat financial crimes and protect their economies from illicit activities.
The Register of Beneficial Owners
The register of beneficial owners is a key component of registries transparency as it provides information on the ultimate owners of companies and other legal entities. The register is essential for ensuring accountability, improving transparency, and facilitating effective regulatory oversight of corporate structures. We will discuss suggestive measures that ensure accuracy of such register and also powers given to registries to be able to fully populate the register of beneficial owners.
Transparency vs Privacy
Transparency and privacy are two competing concerns in a registries context. On one hand, registries must be transparent to prevent financial crimes and promote accountability. On the other hand, personal privacy must be protected, especially with regards to sensitive personal information. We will be discussing various measures that can strike a balance between these two concerns for effective registries management.
International Monitoring Bodies
We will be discussing the recommendations by the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL). Moneyval is the permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe entrusted with the task of assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism and the effectiveness of their implementation, as well as with the task of making recommendations to national authorities in respect of necessary improvements to their systems. We will also discuss the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, the task force that leads global action to tackle money laundering, terrorist and proliferation financing. In addition to this, the FATF researches how money is laundered and terrorism is funded, promotes global standards to mitigate the risks, and assesses whether countries are taking effective action.
Topic 2: Digitalisation
Digitalisation in a registries context refers to the process of transitioning from paper-based record-keeping to electronic systems. This can involve the use of digital platforms and technologies to manage, store, and share information, including registry data. Digitalisation can provide several benefits, such as increased efficiency, accuracy, and transparency, as well as improved access to information for stakeholders. With digitalisation, registries can also become more secure, with encryption and authentication measures that protect against cyber threats. Additionally, digitalisation can enable better data analysis, facilitating the identification of patterns and trends that can be used to improve decision-making and policy development. We will be discussing how digitalisation can improve the quality and accessibility of registry information, leading to better governance and more effective and efficient public service delivery.
Topic 3: The EU Initiatives
The EU initiative of sustainability in a registry’s context refers to efforts to incorporate sustainability considerations into company law and registries. This includes promoting the disclosure of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information by companies, as well as enhancing transparency and accountability in relation to sustainable practices. The aim is to encourage more sustainable business practices and investment decisions, promoting long-term value creation and a more resilient and equitable economy.
Single access point
The EU initiative of single access point refers to the creation of a digital portal that provides a single access point to corporate registries across the EU. The aim is to enhance transparency, facilitate cross-border business activities, and reduce administrative burdens for companies and investors. The portal will enable users to access and compare company information across different member states, providing a more comprehensive and standardized view of the EU business landscape.
The EU initiative of green economy refers to efforts to promote sustainable finance and investment through the development of green taxonomy and sustainability standards. This includes integrating ESG factors into company law and registries, promoting transparency and accountability in relation to sustainable practices, and facilitating green investment flows. The aim is to promote a more sustainable and resilient economy, while also addressing the urgent challenge of climate change.
The EU initiative of the mobility directive refers to efforts to improve the cross-border mobility of companies within the EU. This includes establishing a single set of rules for cross-border conversions, mergers, and divisions, as well as ensuring adequate protection for employees and stakeholders. The aim is to facilitate cross-border business activities, promote economic growth, and enhance the competitiveness of the EU business landscape. Members States can open this up to other jursidictions outside the EU.
BRIS & BORIS
The EU initiative of BRIS (Business Registers Interconnection System) and BORIS (Business Owners Register Interconnection System) refers to efforts to establish interconnected systems of company and beneficial owner registries across the EU. BRIS is intended to facilitate cross-border business activities, by providing a standardized view of company information across different member states. BORIS, on the other hand, is intended to enhance transparency and accountability, by providing a comprehensive view of beneficial ownership information for companies operating within the EU. The aim is to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and transparency of company and beneficial owner information, facilitating effective regulatory oversight and promoting good governance.
The EU initiative of the insolvency directive refers to efforts to harmonize and modernize insolvency laws across the EU. This includes establishing a common set of rules for cross-border insolvency proceedings, promoting greater transparency and access to information, and ensuring adequate protection for creditors and stakeholders. The aim is to facilitate cross-border business activities, promote economic growth, and enhance the competitiveness of the EU business landscape.
Topic 4: Sector-Specific Companies and Registries
Financial services licenced companies
Financial services licensed companies refer to companies that have obtained a license from a financial regulatory authority to provide financial services, such as banking, insurance, or investment services. In a registries context, these companies are typically subject to specific disclosure requirements, which may include information on their ownership structure, financial performance, and regulatory compliance. The aim is to promote transparency and accountability in the financial sector, while also facilitating effective regulatory oversight and consumer protection.
Shipping and aviation
Shipping and aviation companies are typically subject to specific registration and disclosure requirements in a registries context. These may include information on the ownership structure, operational performance, and regulatory compliance of these companies. The aim is to promote transparency and accountability in these industries, while also facilitating effective regulatory oversight and ensuring compliance with international standards and regulations.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are emerging technologies that have the potential to transform the way registries are managed and operated. Blockchain technology provides a decentralized and immutable ledger that can be used to record and verify transactions, while cryptocurrencies enable secure and efficient digital payments. In a registries context, blockchain technology can be used to create tamper-proof records of ownership, facilitate secure and efficient payment transactions, and enhance transparency and accountability. Cryptocurrencies can also be used to facilitate cross-border payments and reduce transaction costs. However, the regulatory and legal frameworks governing these technologies are still evolving, and there are concerns about their potential risks and vulnerabilities, such as money laundering and cyberattacks.
Corporate Service Providers
Corporate service providers refer to companies that offer a range of professional services to businesses, including company formation, administration, and compliance. In a registries context, corporate service providers play a key role in facilitating the registration and maintenance of companies, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and providing support for corporate governance and management. The aim is to provide businesses with the expertise and resources necessary to navigate the complex regulatory landscape and operate effectively in the global marketplace.