Ultimate Beneficial Owners Registers in the EU 2020

Already 23 countries belonging to the European Union have central Registers of Ultimate Beneficial Owners. However, not all of them are publicly open, like Polish CRBR. View the current for June 2020 list of UBO registers.

Ultimate Beneficial Owners Registers in the EU June 2020 — open and limited — Map

UBO Registers in the European Union

Not only Poland created the national Ultimate Beneficial Owners Register last year. Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal have done the same.

Thus, at the present moment (June, 2020), 23 out of 27 EU Member States have registers that store information about natural persons who are owners or managers of companies (by definition, this person must own or control min 25% of shares, stocks or votes).

Only Lithuania, Romania, Hungary and Italy have still not fulfilled the obligation to create an official, central, internet database of beneficiaries imposed on all EU members by the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Directive, in short called the 4th AML Directive. It is worth reminding here that the next, the V AML Directive, will force EU members to open all registers.

Currently, only 13 countries have open registers. Open i.e. publicly available. Others limit access to information so that, for example, only financial institutions and their own control bodies can use the database.

A list of EU member countries showing which countries already have Ultimate Beneficial Owners Registers and whether they are databases that anyone can access:

Ultimate Beneficial Owners Registers in the EU, June 2020, all countries

It is worth mentioning here that some countries with publicly available registers require fees to download information from them. Those are:

  • Estonia (€ 1-3 for a copy)
  • Greece (€ 20 for 10 checks)
  • Ireland (€ 2.50 for copy).

Existence of the UBO Register and actual filling of it with data

It would seem that since the national database has been created, it has an official name and internet address, and is publicly available, then after having looked at it, we will find information about absolutely all companies. This is unfortunately not the case.

As an example, let's look at Polish register, CRBR:

It appeared online on 13.10.2019 and from that day it should gradually fill up with data. All companies established in Poland since October 13 last year have 7 days to register in CRBR. Others, which existed before, first received the deadline for entry to April 13, 2020, and now this date has been moved to July 13, 2020.

As we have already written in a separate article about CRBR:

In December 2019, only 27.8% of all companies that were established on October 13 or later and that should have reported the data of their actual beneficiaries in the register within 7 days, actually did.

We also checked selecitvely dozens of the largest Polish companies in CRBR last month, and most of them were not there yet.

In Poland, like in many other European countries, for the lack of entry within the prescribed period, considerable financial penalties are anticipated! So how it can happen?

It seems that no state authority has yet taken on CRBR in Poland. Does not check and enforce fines from companies. If it begins, and this can happen at the end of July 2020, when the second deadline for submitting beneficiaries' statements expires, then filling the UBO Register with data will certainly speed up.

To sum up, we have June 2020, and CRBR was established in October 2019, i.e. 9 months have passed. The base is still largely empty. Probably in many other countries that created their registers in the last year, the situation is similar. The very existence of a register is not synonymous with the fact that we will actually find in it everything we expect. Filling the database with data, especially new, not stored and not collected so far, takes time.

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