A general misconception regarding new beneficial owner (BO) regulations is that the BO information of an express trust is publicly disclosed, defeating the purpose of a trust.  This, however, is not the case, as sharing of information is strictly controlled and limited by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). 

The following parties can request certain information about a BO from the MFSA under the conditions as stated:

  • Mandated national authorities responsible for combatting money laundering/financing of terrorism (ML/FT), national tax authorities, and the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU).
  • Subject persons carrying out customer due diligence related to the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding or Terrorism Regulations, such as banks. Information is not automatically disclosed; subject persons must provide the MFSA with proof of their connection to the BO such as an engagement letter, power of attorney, warrant, etc. 
  • Any person, upon written request, who can demonstrate a legitimate interest. This is determined on a case-by-case basis. If the MFSA deems the interest legitimate, it is obliged to notify the trustee of this conclusion.
  • Any natural or legal person, if the trust holds or owns a controlling interest in a corporate or legal entity outside the EU, subject to MFSA discretion.

Consequently, the MFSA can refuse to provide information if it deems that granting access would expose the BO to the risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation, or in the event that the BO is a minor or otherwise legally incapable.

Access to BO information is subject to online registration on the MFSA portal and to payment. 

What information can be disclosed?

– Name and surname
– Nationality
– Date of birth
– Residence
– Nature and extent of beneficial interest

The MFSA aims to combat ML/FT and tax evasion. Therefore, the goals of a trust – such as asset protection, asset management, controlled distribution and/or privacy –  remain unchanged and uncompromised.

For more information, please contact Emily Gauci.

Disclaimer Clause: While the information contained in the document has been formulated with all due care, it is provided by Trustmoore for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer, invitation or inducement to contract. The information herein does not constitute legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or other professional advice and therefore we would encourage you to seek appropriate professional advice before considering a transaction as described in this document. No liability is accepted whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from the use of this document. The text of this disclaimer is not exhaustive, further details can be found here.