Beneficial Owner Enhanced Due Diligence Reports / Detailed KYC Background Checks 

What is a Beneficial Owner?

In legal terms, a beneficial owner is an individual who enjoys the benefits of owning an asset and has overall control, when in actual fact the legal title of that asset is in another name.  There are significant differences in terms of beneficial ownership compared to legal ownership, but in many cases the owners are the same person; however there are situations where they may wish to remain anonymous. 

There can be a number of reasons why a person would prefer to become a beneficial owner, including the following:

  • Company shareholders, particularly with shares that are publically traded, may not wish their identity to be in the public domain and therefore they use a broker for safety and convenience.  This practice is not illegal as long as the appropriate tax laws are complied with.
  • Individuals in the public eye, such as politicians and celebrities, may not wish their name to appear on property deeds, risking their residence addresses and personal information becoming public knowledge. In this situation, trustees or another legal entity will be registered as the titleholder, instead of the beneficial owner. 
  • Many wealthy individuals have large assets and estates and in order to manage their wealth accordingly, elements of their estate may be registered in a separate legal name or incorporated into trusts.  This assists with estate planning and also provides a guard against potential legal claims. 

Whilst it is legal for beneficial owners to utilize the options above in order to protect their identity and financial wealth, there are occasions when beneficial owners have illegal motives for hiding their identity from the public eye and law enforcement agencies, such as money laundering and financing corruption.  

The use of beneficial owners was once again highlighted in 2016, when the famous Panama Papers case occurred, leaking the details of thousands of offshore bank accounts and corporations and their beneficial owners. 

How Proximal Consulting Can Help 

Proximal Consulting has been assisting the financial industry to decipher this complex system for almost two decades, providing enhanced due diligence reports which will confirm whether a customer or partner (prospective or existing), is providing complete and accurate information. Our detailed research will also uncover any existence of criminal activity such as money laundering, corruption, terrorist financing or fraud.

Through a combination of extensive and proven investigative tools, together with reliable associates providing country specific intelligence, we can determine the legitimacy of an individual or legal entity in the majority of countries. Whilst in some countries, the investigations into private individuals can be severely restricted, over the years we have gained considerable expertise in successfully conducting investigations in these more guarded areas.

In terms of our investigations, we seek to confirm the following information during the course of our enquiries:

  • Confirmation of identity
  • Current and/or previous residential addresses
  • Past and/or present passports issued to the subject of our report
  • Information regarding the subject's family members and civil status
  • The subject’s career history and professional background, including corporate positions and shareholdings
  • Any negative or detrimental material regarding the subject and the subject's business interests
  • Whether the subject should be viewed as a PEP (politically exposed person) and/or a close family member or associate of a PEP
  • Any links between the subject and organised crime, money laundering, corruption, business crime and/or any other type of criminal activity
  • Sanctions risks

Client confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us and all of our enhanced due diligence checks are conducted in a totally discreet manner.

Our enhanced due diligence reports on individuals and corporate entities will not only ensure that the legal and regulatory obligations of our clients have been met, but they are also designed to safeguard our clients from any financial, legal, operational, or reputational risks.

All our enhanced due diligence reports are tailor-made to our clients’ requirements at a fixed price and within an agreed time frame. 

Our resources section features client case examplesfrequently asked questions and fact sheets of key AML topics alongside our archived white paper collection.