All companies and associations must register beneficial ownership in 2017
This spring, the Swedish parliament is expected to decide that 800,000 companies and legal entities must register their beneficial owners with Bolagsverket during the latter half of 2017. We are in the process of developing an e-service to make the process easier for companies and others who will have to register this information.
What is beneficial ownership?
A beneficial owner is someone who ultimately owns or controls a company, association or other type of legal entity. A beneficial owner can also be someone who benefits from someone else acting on their behalf.
What is the purpose of the register?
The purpose of the register is to give banks, the Swedish financial intelligence police unit and others access to information about who has significant control of a company. We will therefore develop a new e-service to enable information searches in the register. The information about beneficial ownership is intended to be a measure in combatting money-laundering and financing terrorism.
How does registration work?
You should register digitally starting from the second half of 2017. You should register within six months from the start date. The exact date has not been decided yet.
It will be free of charge to register information. The information must be signed with e-identification such as Mobile BankID and by an authorised signatory for the company or association.
Who will have to register beneficial ownership?
This will affect around 800,000 companies and associations. Those needing to register beneficial owners include:
- Collective farming associations
- Community associations
- Co-operative banks
- Co-operative tenancy right associations
- Economic associations
- European companies (SEs)
- European cooperative associations (SCEs)
- European economic interest groupings (EEIGs)
- Insurance associations
- Insurance companies
- Joint-stock banking companies
- Limited companies
- Limited partnerships
- Mutual insurance companies
- Non-profit associations which have one or more beneficial owners
- Religious communities
- Savings banks
- Tenant-owner associations
- Trading partnerships
- Trusts (if managed from Sweden)
- Water boards
The following are exempt and do not need to register beneficial ownership:
- Estates of deceased or bankrupt persons
- Limited companies with voting shares admitted to trading on a regulated market
- Non-profit associations which do not have any beneficial owners
- Ordinary partnerships
- Sole traders
- The state, county councils and municipalities as well as legal entities where these have a significant deciding role
EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive is the reason behind the new register
In 2015, a new Anti-Money Laundering EU Directive entered into force. Its purpose is to combat money-laundering and financing of terrorism. The directive requires every EU member state to implement a central register containing details of company beneficial owners.
The Swedish government will give Bolagsverket the task of implementing and maintaining the register in Sweden. We are currently awaiting a draft bill and then for new legislation to be passed by Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag.
More information in spring 2017
During the spring, we will publish more information about the new register on Bolagsverket’s website. This will include details of the regulations for all the types of companies and associations affected by the directive.