The Trusts and Trustees Act (Register of Beneficial Owners) Regulations (“the Regulations”), published on the 20th December 2017 by virtue of Legal Notice 373 of 2017, transposed into Maltese law the provisions of Article 31 of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of the 20th May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, more commonly known as the 4th AMLD. These provisions relate to beneficial ownership information, including inter alia, the register of beneficial owners, in so far as these provisions are applicable to trusts and trustees. As a result of the coming into force of these Regulations on the 1st January 2018, any licensed trustee who was appointed as trustee for a trust which generates tax consequences in Malta, was required to submit a declaration of beneficial ownership for every such trust to the MFSA. The declaration includes the details indicated in the Regulations, including those related to the trustee, settlor, protector, beneficiaries or class of beneficiaries as well as any other person exercising control over the said trust. The MFSA also published Frequently Asked Questions in order to assist trustees in submitting the required declarations of beneficial ownership. The Regulations also set out the parties entitled to access the beneficial ownership information in the register, and the extent of such access.
In 2020 the Regulations were amended by Legal Notice 27 of 2020 to comply with changes introduced by the 5th AML Directive (“5th AMLD”). The amended legislation brought into the scope of the reporting requirements all trusts administered by trustees licensed in Malta, irrespective of whether such trusts generate tax consequences or otherwise. Moreover, where a trustee whose place of establishment or residence is outside of the EU enters into a business relationship, or acquires real estate in Malta, this shall also trigger the reporting requirements of beneficial ownership of such trust in the central register in Malta. Also as a result of these amendments, in addition to the existing unfettered access to competent authorities, and to subject persons for the purposes of carrying out due diligence on a particular trust, access has also been extended to any natural or legal person who can demonstrate a legitimate interest as defined by law, and to any person who makes a written request to view the beneficial ownership information of a trust which owns a company that is not incorporated in the EU.
The MFSA has developed an online platform for the Trusts Ultimate Beneficial Ownership Register (“TUBOR”) , in order to facilitate the electronic submission of beneficial ownership information of trusts as well as to provide online access to the said beneficial ownership information to the entitled parties in terms of law, at differing levels as outlined above.
To access TUBOR please click here.