The threat of a publicly available register of trust beneficiaries (see our note A new threat to trusts – The EU’s 4th Money Laundering directive) appears to have receded slightly – if only for the moment. HM Treasury now advise that there is no plan for the Council of Ministers to consider the 4th Money Laundering Directive in September. However, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) which took place on 20 June noted the progress made on the file, following Member States’ agreement on a version of the text. It should be noted that the version currently under consideration does not contain the proposal for the public register of trust beneficiaries. It is expected that the next stage of negotiation, which will aim to reconcile the Council and European Parliament versions of the Directive (the so -called “trilogues” round), will start in late September/early October. However, as the current version does not contain the proposal for the public register of trust beneficiaries, while the Parliament were very enthusiastic about it, it is likely that this “trilogue” process will be somewhat protracted. (Apparently, it is not unusual for the Council to simply ignore amendments made by the Parliament). The Law Society are suggesting a possible conclusion by the end of the year, but with the proviso that even that could slip, while HM Treasury suggest early 2015. Thereafter, national governments will still have up to two years in which to enact the enabling legislation, which could mean up to early 2017.
If you want information about the implications of the proposed directive, please contact Damon Holliday, Consultant or Richard Monkcom, Partner, in Druces LLP’s Private Client team.