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Foreign Investors Council
47, Gospodar Jevremova Street, IV Floor, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Phone: +381 11 3281 958, 3281 965
e-mail: office@fic.org.rs

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Recent Activities

03. July 2018.

Law on Ultimate Owners Presented to FIC

On July 3, FIC members used the opportunity to discuss the Law on Central Register of the Ultimate Beneficial Owners with the Assistant Minister of Economy Dusan Vuckovic. In an exclusive presentation for FIC members, Dusan Vuckovic said that the Law, adopted without public consultations, was not planned for this year and was adopted quickly to avoid Serbia to be placed on the black lists of international bodies dealing with money laundering and financial transparency.

More than 30 FIC member representatives attended the presentation and learned first-hand that the Law envisages the establishment of the Central Register of the Ultimate Beneficial Owners, to be managed by the Business Registers Agency (BRA). Dusan Vuckovic shared view that such Registry should be under the responsibility of the Finance Ministry, and tackled within the Anti-Money Laundering Law as is the case in the majority of countries, including the neighbouring ones. As for the practical info regarding the Register, he shared that the information regarding the basis for the inscription, documentation and similar issues is under preparation. In a discussion that followed the presentation, members were eager to hear whether the new Law will put additional burden on companies. Assistant Minister was adamant it will not be the case, explaining that the inscription of data in the Registry will be operated online, without the request to submit documents. Documents serving as the basis for the inscription in the registry must already be in possession of companies according to the AML rules. “This is just a small addition to the AML Law”, he said. Main intention of the establishment of the Registry was to simplify access to the information and facilitate the initial stage of controls by the banks and state bodies. FIC members raised issue of potential situation where the needed data on the ownership or funding can’t be determined even after all the possibilities for tracking the individual owners were exhausted. Dusan Vuckovic explained that in such cases the legal representative of the organization, or some other official such as supervisory committee member, would be entitled as owner. As he said, the main goal is to enable t the financial flows. “You shouldn’t fear the idea of Beneficial Owner. It is important only in case of suspicious financial transactions”, he said. Members were interested on how to proceed in case of the company owned by the trusts, having as owners several legal entities, which makes it difficult to know the individuals that are owners. One FIC member shared the comparative legislative experience of Slovenia, where it was decided to register director as the beneficial owner in such cases.

When it comes to the main information on the Law, it was conveyed that it applies to wide variety of companies and associations, including business associations and branches of foreign companies. Ultimate beneficial owner is defined by its share and/or voting rights of at least 25%, but also by its influence in decision making process and funds he secures which gives him impact in decision making. When it comes to organizations such as foundations and associations, the beneficial owner is defined as the person in charge of and registered  for representing the organization, if other ultimate owner was not defined. Individuals responsible for the inscription of data in the Registry have deadlines of 15 days to do it as of the date when the legal ground for inscription occurred, and are obliged to record accurate data for 10 years as of the date of evidencing of such data, and provide it on demand to the state body in charge or NBS. Envisaged penalties for breach of these obligations range from 500,000 to 2 million RSD for legal entity, and 50,000 to 150,000 for responsible person. For accessing the Register, persons in charge use qualified electronic certificate. False registering with the intent to conceal the beneficial owner is considered a criminal offence, punishable by three months to five years in prison. Registered beneficial owner can dispute such position in court in an urgent procedure.

White Book

White Book
Published yearly since 2003, goal of the White Book is to enable removing unneeded barriers and make doing business in Serbia easier, thus enabling better inflow of investments. It is promoted every year in the fourth quarter at the prestigious high-level event.

Coming soon

fic guide

fic guide
Guide to Foreign Investors Council in Serbia 2017/18

Rcc

Rcc
Reality Check Conference is an important tool in achieving FIC goals: it is an event meant to remind the authorities about the recommendations from the latest White Book edition and check status of their implementation.