Archive April 2022
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Easter Eggs really!
Easter eggs don’t just mean eggs for Easter anymore now social media refers to Easter Eggs to mean an intentional inside joke or hidden message. Hard to equate an intentional joke with company law. Mind you there will always be a rarefied few who consider compliance with company law a joke but that is another kettle of fish.
Compliance is hard for most people, what to comply with and why, particularly when trying to do so whilst carrying out our “actual” job. Compliance though is part of our “actual” job and should form part of an on-going continuous process in any organisation.
To have compliance enter your company’s lexicon can start from something as simple as an Agenda item for the next Board Meeting.
Have compliance an Agenda item for discussion at every Board Meeting.
Agree top five compliance issues or concerns and start knocking them off one by one.
Consider appointing one person to lead the compliance processes in your company.
Types of compliance issues could include any of the following.
Anti-Money laundering legislation – when is the last time a review was undertaken on how your company manages AML?
Risk Register – does your company have one, when was it last reviewed by the Directors at an actual meeting?
Beneficial Ownership – a company must maintain an internal statutory register of beneficial ownership whilst ensuring it also files and continues to update filings with the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership.
Statutory Registers – are they all current and have you cross-checked with statutory filing in the Companies Registration Office.
Constitution / Shareholder Agreement – when was your Constitution last reviewed, and does it run in tandem with the Shareholder Agreement or, as is often the case, do they have contradicting clauses?
Policies – what policies are in place, when were they last reviewed? The horrific invasion of Ukraine sparked most companies to review EU Sanctions Policies which has, in turn, focused the attention of Directors, Managers on Staff on Ethics & Sanctions in a manner that could never have been imagined possible before.
Don’t try and do it all at once, make a start, keep up the momentum and then you can go and buy an actual real Easter Egg. I hope you will all have a fabulous Easter with or without an egg!
Discrepancy Notices – what is going on?
When a company or individual becomes aware of a discrepancy in beneficial ownership details filed with the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership (CRBO) there is an option to file a Discrepancy Report.
History of Discrepancy Notices filed in the CRBO
In 2020 – just 2
In 2021 – over 700
In 2022 – over 600
What is going on and why such an extraordinary surge?
It looks like the trigger event was the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2021 in 2021. This Act transposed EU Money Laundering Directive into Irish law thus bringing Ireland in line with current European AML and countering financing of terrorism (“AML/CFT”) framework.
Companies are not allowed to be told who has filed the Discrepancy Notices so who is filing and why remains a matter of conjecture. It seems likely though Discrepancy Notices are being filed in a knee jerk reaction to the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act on the basis of “to be sure, to be sure”.
In the event you receive a warning email from the CRBO make sure you respond ASAP to ensure you remain within all relevant deadlines. Do not assume there is a discrepancy. Check the beneficial ownership details as in all likelihood your details are fine. Provided you engage proactively and in a timely manner with the CRBO, with luck, all you will end up with is a story to tell. Surprising, irritating but absolutely fixable!
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