FIU hosts three-day event to assist with Beneficial Ownership registration |15 November 2023
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is providing assistance to companies’ and associations’ secretaries to register and populate Beneficial Ownership information onto the Beneficial Ownership Database, maintained by the FIU.
This is being done over three days and is taking place at the National Museum conference room (ex-Supreme Court).
Beneficial Ownership Act came into force in 2020 and as per section 13 act, the legal persons and legal arrangements are required to populate their Beneficial Ownership information to the FIU through their resident agents. As such, in order to comply with this obligation, resident agents are required to register and populate the Beneficial Ownership databases as appropriate.
In an interview to the local media yesterday, the director of FIU, Richard Rampal, explained they wanted to take the exercise closer to the population. “As a country, it is important to have accurate information. We are trying to raise maximum awareness with our domestic population.”
He remarked that offshore companies may already be well versed with Beneficial ownership, whereas domestically, it is still relatively new.
He launched an appeal to all associations and partnerships to take the opportunity throughout the three days to do the necessary. Mr Rampal explained that the individual can come down with the required documentation and identification to prove that they are indeed what they say
they are. Once access to the numeric system is granted, it will populate the information of the Beneficial Owners on the platform. “We are here to guide you on how to populate the database.”
By the end of the day if all the information is correct, they are in compliance with the Beneficial Ownership Act 2020. They will then have their register that they are required to maintain and the secretariat will also be registered. A confirmation will be sent from FIU notifying the population of the information.
The good thing about the database is that once it is already populated, there is no need for the company to go back to it, unless one of the beneficial owners has resigned or there are new beneficial owners. The platform is also web-based meant for accessibility.
Mr Rampal also called upon the business sector of Praslin and La Digue to do the necessary and noted they will be provided the same assistance through a separate session for them.
He did concur that the obligation to collect information on the beneficial owner is mandatory and all companies, partnerships and associations need to collect information on the beneficial owner.
“The information is what is the most paramount to us. There are no hidden costs or fees.”
Mr Rampal stated that the legislation allows FIU at any time to take enforcement action. He proclaimed that they have enough enforcement action in their toolbox at their disposal for cases of non-compliance.
“What is most critical in this is the information. We want transparency, we want to know who is behind the structure.”
However, he conveyed that this is not the sole purpose, but rather, it gives the FIU the power to go through the database and see who are the beneficial owners, in instances where the structure is being used for malintent. There may also be instances where a criminal decides to set up a structure, and put their friend down as the owner, and takes back ownership several months later.
According to Mr Rampal, the database will have a list that will include how the company started, the founder and financiers and if there are any changes in the higher ups.
“This is to prevent the legal structure in Seychelles getting abused,” concluded Mr Rampal.
Photos by Joena Meme