IRSG Report – Anti-Money Laundering and Beneficial Ownership

Published 7 Dec 2023

In the face of rising levels of money laundering due to both, geopolitical risks and the changing nature of illicit finance, the time to ensure a robust and effective anti-money laundering (AML) regime globally is now. A transparent beneficial ownership regime is at its core.

The International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG), together with Eversheds Sutherland LLP, strongly support efforts, both domestic and international, towards this goal. But what legislative and regulatory considerations should be there to enable such a regime? With this report, the IRSG, in partnership with Eversheds Sutherland LLP, seeks to answer this question and determine how regulatory and legislative frameworks can enable a globally transparent and effective beneficial ownership regime.

The report sets out seven recommendations that we believe will help achieve this goal. These include the need for clear rules and guidelines around access to beneficial ownership registers as well as clarity on how to balance privacy rights against AML and beneficial ownership purposes. They also include the need for beneficial ownership standards that are proportional to the risk of different financial services products and the need for guidelines to professional services providers specifically as they often certify certain aspects of a company’s structure identity. Last but not least, the report includes recommendations on formulating an internationally consistent Ultimate Beneficial Owner threshold and further down the line – the implementation of an international beneficial ownership register.