The Register of express trusts and similar legal arrangements (the “Trusts’ Registry”)

Following the implementation of the 5th AML Directive, which has been transposed into national legislation by the Law 13(I)/2021, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (the “CySEC”) as the relevant Competent Authority has issued the Directive (R.A.D 257/2021) for the beneficial ownership register of express trusts and similar legal Arrangements (the “Directive”) which provides information and guidance regarding the registration of express trusts and similar legal arrangements.

According to the provisions of the “Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law of 2007 to 2021” the trustee or commissioner of any express trust obtains and holds adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on beneficial ownership regarding the trust. The said information should be communicated to the Register of express trusts and similar legal arrangements (the “Trusts’ Registry”), held by CySEC.

1. Application for the registration of an Express Trust or Similar Legal Arrangement

According to the Directive the trustee of the express trust within fifteen (15) days from his appointment, submits to CySEC through the System, an application for registration of the express trust or similar legal arrangement in the Register, providing the following information:

  1. Name,
  2. country and date of incorporation and/or establishment,
  3. applicable law,
  4. expiration date (if any),
  5. the nature of any similar legal arrangement,
  6. information concerning the place of establishment or residence of the trustee or other equivalent person, as well as his residential address.

In addition to the above, the following information as regards the beneficial owners must also be communicated to CySEC:

  1. name and surname,
  2. father’s name,
  3. date of birth,
  4. place of birth,
  5. nationality or nationalities,
  6. residential address,
  7. number and type of identification document,
  8. date of death, where applicable,
  9. date in which the natural person has become a beneficial owner,
  10. the nature and extent of the rights held directly or indirectly by each beneficial owner,
  11. his role in the express trust or similar legal arrangement.

The information which is disclosed for registration in the Register, where the settlor, the trustee, the protector, the beneficiaries or, in case the persons who are the beneficiaries of the express trust have not been yet identified and the category of persons in the interest of which the express trust has been mainly established or operates is a legal entity or legal entities, include the following elements:

  • the name of the legal person,
  • the type of the legal person,
  • its registration number,
  • its country and date of incorporation,
  • the address of its registered office,
  • its role in the express trust or similar legal arrangement;
  • the data referred to in subparagraph (4) with respect to the beneficial owners of the legal person,

2. Application for registration in the Register regarding existing explicit trusts or similar legal arrangements

The application for registration in the register is made by the trustee of an express trust or the person owns equivalent position, within six (6) months from commencement of the Directive.

3. Legitimate Interest Requirement

In order for a natural or legal person to have access to the Register, a legitimate interest must be demonstrated. Following an application for access to the Trusts’ Registry, CySEC may:

  1. Reject the application for disclosure (if no legitimate interest is established),
  2. Approve the application for disclosure. In this case CySEC informs the trustee or other equivalent person for the request providing a deadline of ten (10) days for the submission of written representations,
  3. After taking into account any written representations submitted, notify its final decision to the applicant and the trustee or other equivalent person.

4. Fees and Annual Subscriptions

When a request for access to the register is submitted by natural or legal person, a relevant contribution shall be paid to CySEC in accordance with the following categories:

  • 500 euros for 1-5 express trusts or similar legal arrangements,
  • 900 euros for 1-10 express trusts or similar legal arrangements,
  • 1,600 euros for 1-20 express trusts or similar legal arrangements,
  •  2,100 euros for 1-30 express trusts or similar legal arrangements,
  • 3,000 euros for 1-50 express trusts or similar legal arrangements,
  • 5,000 euros for 1-100 express trusts or similar legal arrangements.

5. Restrictions on the Information Being Made Available

A beneficial owner of an express trust or similar legal arrangement, under exceptional conditions may file a written request to CySEC seeking an exemption from access to all or part of his/her information included in the Trust Registry. CySEC approves the request when such disclosure, according to article 61C(16), would expose the beneficial owner to a disproportionate risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation or where the beneficial owner is a minor or otherwise legally incapable. When considering a request for exemption, the Commission may, in its discretion, request further information and documents from the applicant, as well as the opinion of any other person or authority.