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United States G-8 Action Plan for Transparency of Company Ownership and Control

June 18, 2013

United States G-8 Action Plan for Transparency of Company Ownership and Control
Senate Seal

WASHINGTON, D.C. (RPRN) 06/18/13 — In response to the G-8 commitment for members to publish national action plans on transparency of company ownership and control, the United States commits to the following actions:

  1. Risk Assessment:  The United States is currently updating its national risk assessment, a public document assessing major money laundering conduits and methods, which will specifically address abuse of legal entities.  
  2. Advocate for Comprehensive Legislation:  Continue to advocate for comprehensive legislation to require identification and verification of beneficial ownership information at the time a company is formed.  One possible approach could include the following provisions: 
    • Definition of Beneficial Owners – Define beneficial owner as a natural person who, directly or indirectly, exercises substantial control over a covered legal entity or has a substantial economic interest in, or receives substantial economic benefit from, such legal entity, subject to several exceptions. 
    • Collection and Verification of Documentation – Include two options for covering legal entities depending on whether the applicant forms the legal entity directly or uses a regulated company formation agent.  Both cases would require the collection and verification of the documentation associated with beneficial ownership.  
    • Regulation of Company Formation Agents - Extend Anti-Money Laundering obligations to company formation agents, including an obligation to identify and verify beneficial ownership information. 
    • Accessibility of Information – Ensure law enforcement authorities, including tax authorities, will be able to access beneficial ownership information upon appropriate request through a central registry at the state level.  Although all states currently make some basic information available through public registries, states may choose to make beneficial ownership information publicly available. 
    • Transfers – Mandate that entities update information filed with a State or a formation agent within 60 days following any change of beneficial owners. 
    • Exemptions – Include, but not limit exemptions to, publically-traded companies in the U.S., federally regulated financial institutions, and operating companies meeting certain employee or revenue requirements. 
  • Liabilities – Mandate civil and criminal penalties for knowingly providing false information or documentation to a State or formation agent. 
  1. Clarify and Strengthen Customer Due Diligence Standards for U.S. Financial Institutions:  The United States is currently engaged in rulemaking to develop an explicit customer due diligence obligation for U.S. financial institutions, including a general requirement to identify the beneficial owners of legal entity customers. 

International Cooperation:  Assess the effectiveness of existing means for complying with requests for mutual legal assistance and other forms of international cooperation related to beneficial ownership of companies. 

Main image credits: White House
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