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Businesses under Seychelles' Companies Act must register beneficial owners

Businesses registered under Seychelles' Companies Act of 1972 have to register persons classified as beneficial owners through a portal set up on the website of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), a top official said on Wednesday.

Others that will also need to register are Partnerships registered under the Civil Code of Seychelles Act and associations registered under the Association's Act. 

The director of the FIU, Richard Rampal, told reporters that "a beneficial owner can be someone that has control over the company, but is not the owner, or someone who owns over 10 percent interest in the company or a senior officer."

A register will also be kept by the (FIU) in line with the Beneficial Ownership Act 2020. The act states that registered businesses will have to keep an up-to-date register of all their beneficial owners or shareholders, at all times, and the register should be maintained at the principal place of business of the resident agent.

Such information will be uploaded on a secure digital platform, which will be maintained by FIU with information input from a resident agent.

A resident agent is a person designated by the company to have access to the portal and who will input the required information in the database. The agent will first have to create an account for the company and only then will be able to fill in the details of the beneficial owners.

"Information that will need to be filled in includes the name of the beneficial owner, identification number, contact information, the date at which the person became a beneficial owner and they have to be supported by additional documents as proof," said the FIU director.

Once submitted, Rampal said that the information will not be accessible to anyone else, aside from the FIU, and should any changes need to be made to the submitted list, the FIU will have to be contacted by the resident agent for authorisation.

The FIU has said that this database will help in giving more transparency and accountability to registered companies, which will help Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, in its fight against money-laundering and other criminal activities.

Companies have until January 2022 to submit their databases to the FIU and failure to do so could have legal consequences.

"What we want is to have all companies register with truthful information. It will be difficult for the FIU itself to verify the information and ensure that all companies acting accordingly, but we will be working with other partners, such as local banks and the police, who will help in authenticating the information submitted," he added.


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