The European Union’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AML) came into force on 26 June 2015 and will be implemented by 26 June 2017. The objective of 4AML is to apply clearer money laundering regulations to businesses that could be at risk to money laundering and terrorist financing.
We support the principle of effective measures to prevent money laundering and believe that this needs to be achieved in conjunction with preserving basic rights of privacy, particularly to protect vulnerable citizens.
Prior to the Directive being finalised, STEP had lobbied MEPs, UK and other EU Member States officials and raised the issue in the mainstream press of the serious privacy implications of a proposed public register of beneficial owners of trusts, as well as the significant administrative burdens and costs on families that a public register would present, while achieving little in practical terms of tackling the problem of illicit financial flows. We therefore welcomed the pragmatic solution of a mandatory register of trusts, that would be available to competent authorities only and would not be made public.
Following recent events, however, the Directive is once again under review, and the issue of access to trust registers is under revision.
- STEP News: Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (January 2015)
- STEP Blog: A pragmatic solution (December 2014)
- Sunday Telegraph: "EU to force Britons to publish details of wills and property" (February 2014)
- The Times: "Families must reveal trust fund secrets under EU plan" (February 2014)