June 8, 2023

On 30 May 2023, the Dutch Ministry of Finance has opened an internet consultation for a legislative proposal to (partially) re-open the UBO register. The consultation is open until 28 June 2023.

Status of the UBO register

Since last year, most legal entities in the European Union must register their Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) at their relevant national authority, which was open for the public. A natural person is a UBO when they hold (directly or indirectly) more than 25% of shares, voting rights or economic interest, or can otherwise exercise de facto control.

However, on 22 November 2022, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the UBO register must not be publicly accessible due to its interference with the fundamental rights. In the Netherlands, the Ministry of Finance made the UBO register completely inaccessible directly after this ruling, and it currently cannot be accessed by anyone.

Ongoing internet consultation

Although the ECJ made it clear that it should not be fully open to the public, different stakeholders still have the necessity to access the register. The Dutch government is therefore working on a legislative proposal to partially re-open the register. According to the draft proposal, the UBO-register will be accessible by (i) organisations that are obliged by law to conduct client research; (ii) organisations that need to comply with obligations arising from the Sanctions Act 1977; and (iii) other parties with legitimate interest (including the UBOs themselves).

However, the proposal is not final. Until 28 June 2023, any member of the public can react to the draft proposal via https://www.internetconsultatie.nl/beperkingtoeganguboregisters/b1 and suggest alternative solutions.

At the same time, it also means that the UBO-register will most likely be (partially) open again in the Netherlands. It remains to be seen when this will be effective and whether more parties will be authorised to access the register.

Please contact CIS Management for further information.