EU countries are already under an obligation to introduce a beneficial ownership register for legal entities registered in their jurisdiction by June 2017 under the 4th Money Laundering Directive but the commitments from France and the Netherlands go further in confirming that the registers in those jurisdictions will be open to the public. The Netherlands has also committed to taking steps to ensure transparency of the ownership and control of all companies involved in property purchase and public contracting.
The UK has already legislated for a publicly accessible beneficial ownership register for companies – known as the “people with significant control” (PSC) register – which was introduced for all UK companies on 6 April 2016. And it has also begun consultation on a similar regime for foreign companies holding UK property or bidding for UK central government contracts. See our PSC register hub for more details.