The 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive took effect in the UK on Monday 26 June and introduces new procedures that must be followed when carrying out Anti-Money Laundering checks. The legislation has the effect of increasing the requirements for identification checks on trusts in particular and makes it a requirement that trusts are registered.
The UK already has such a register applying to companies, but the regulations also introduce a new trusts register, requiring trustees to register and report all express trusts that generate tax consequences. HMRC has not yet launched this register, but the current indications are that trustees will have until 5 October 2017 to register new taxable trusts and until 31 January 2018 to provide information on existing trusts. The extent of information which requires to be registered is not yet certain, however, the administrative burden placed on trustees and individuals will undoubtedly increase.
Information on beneficial ownership will be held by each member state in a central register that will be accessible to banks, law firms and “any person or organisation that can demonstrate a legitimate interest”. These interconnected registers will contain the names, dates of birth, nationality, country of residence and the nature and extent of each beneficial owner’s interests.
Clients may be asked to provide additional identification documentation in order to satisfy more stringent checks, including the requirement to identify named beneficiaries of a trust. It is important that clients are reassured that their identity will never be released to a third party that does not have a legitimate reason for confirming their identity, and this information will never be made available to the general public.
As experienced advisors on trust related matters, we are expertly placed to take our clients through these changes.
Setting up trusts, as well as the continual management of them, can be a daunting thought for clients and there can be heavy administrative burdens to overcome. We are able to lift the administrative burden by guiding our clients through each stage of the trust process – from providing advice, setting up trusts and ensuring they are registered, to taking care of the on-going management of trusts by maintaining annual accounts, filing tax returns and managing payments to beneficiaries.
We take an active role in ensuring we keep up to date with key changes in the law relating to trusts, including renewed AML legislation, and adapt our practice to ensure we are providing clients with the best possible service and ensuring clients are not caught out by changes in the law.