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Michael Murray’s on-going commentary on issues in corporate and personal insolvency law and related policy and law reform, in Australia and internationally. Given the scope of insolvency, this extends to business, consumer and professional conduct, and ethics, governance and regulation, criminal, tax, environmental and administrative law, and the courts and government.

 

Beneficial ownership of companies – consultation

The government has released a consultation paper on improving the transparency of information on the beneficial ownership and control of companies. Comments are due by 13 March 2017.

This was foreshadowed in my earlier comments on 2 November 2016.

As I said then, the idea of a beneficial ownership register for companies is not new, and has now been the subject of consideration by a number of inquiries in Australia – into our anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws, the 2015 Senate Report on Insolvency in the Australian Construction Industry, and potentially in relation to anti-phoenix reforms and the need for a Director Identification Number (DIN).

The United Kingdom also has its national register of beneficial ownership introduced through its Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. 

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One Response

  1. Isn’t one of the real problems with such a register in Australia the substantial use of discretionary trusts. This is not the case in many other jurisdictions. Also in the public sphere hasn’t there been a requirement for disclosure of ultimate holding company or substantial shareholder interest for some time?

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