In December 2014, EU Parliament and Council negotiators reached agreement that the owners of companies would be listed on public corporate registers. The beneficial owners of trusts would not be included on a public register (see George Hodgson's December 2014 blog).
The draft directive needs to be endorsed by EU Member States' ambassadors and by Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs committees. It will then be put to a vote by the full Parliament.
The fact that registers of the beneficial owners of trusts would not be publicly available is a positive outcome. STEP has proactively campaigned on this issue through a variety of means including lobbying MEPs, hosting policy workshops and regular engagement with UK Treasury. STEP outlined that the creation of a public trust register would:
- impose significant administrative burdens and costs on UK families
- threaten their basic rights to confidentiality in financial affairs
- achieve little in practical terms of tackling the problem of illicit financial flows.