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UBO Special Report: Key findings

Increased demand for corporate transparency and growing regulatory scrutiny has seen 106 jurisdictions across the world introduce Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) reporting requirements.

UBOs are the individuals or entities with financial control or ownership of a company. The definition of who constitutes a UBO varies between jurisdictions, but generally, a UBO is defined as an individual who holds a minimum of 10-25% of capital or voting rights in the underlying entity.

As UBO requirements have come into force across more territories, they have been complicated by discrepancies and varying definitions, applicable rules and reporting processes between jurisdictions. This brings challenges for multinationals to remain up-to-date and compliant – with the risks of non-compliance extending to multi-million-dollar penalties and even criminal prosecution.

About the report

Mercator® by Citco’s (Mercator) UBO Special Report provides insight into dynamics and nuances of managing and maintaining UBO requirements across the world.

The report charts the costs and time it takes multinationals to complete UBO-related activities, based on data drawn directly from Entica® – Mercator’s custom-built technology platform – which individually records all corporate activities that clients undertake when managing their entity portfolios.

What jurisdiction comes out on top?

Overall, the data places the United Kingdom on top with competitive cost levels, straightforward reporting requirements and swift processing times by Companies House.

The United Kingdom also has the following advantages:

  • A centralized governance model with all filings made through Companies House E-signatures are accepted not only for internal documentation but also by Companies House
  • Swift processing times by Companies House
  • Physical presence by the attendee at local authorities is not required
  • A thriving and competitive market for specialized legal and company secretarial support services
  • No language requirements for foreign documents
  • Signatory of the Hague Apostille Convention, meaning notarizations or legalizations are not required
What jurisdictions lag behind?

In contrast, Brazil ranks bottom when combining cost and time, followed by Colombia and the United Arab Emirates. These jurisdictions have some of the most complex processes requiring paper documentation, in-person filings with authorities, translations, and legalizations.

A lack of availability of standardized documentation and reliable public registers also slows the process, creating costly inefficiencies. This makes the role of supporting compliance obligations and validating Beneficial Ownership an onerous undertaking for in-house teams.

Ula Cekutyte
Legal Team Manager, Mercator by Citco, Citco Mercator, UAB

Download the Ultimate Beneficial Owner: Special Report to view the full rankings along with insights and commentary on navigating UBO compliance in some of the most complex and costly jurisdictions.

Or read Mercator’s top tips on navigating UBO compliance here.

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