Articles on: Glossary

What is a Beneficial Owner?

Estimated Reading Time: 3min

A "beneficial owner" is an individual who ultimately owns or controls a company, either directly or indirectly.

On 29 December 2022, the Government Gazette published the General Laws (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment Act 22 of 2022 which included amendments to the Companies Act 71 of 2008.

These amendments include the definition of a beneficial owner which is an individual who ultimately owns or controls a company, either directly or indirectly. This can involve owning shares, controlling voting rights, appointing or removing board members, or exercising control over a holding company. Additionally, a beneficial owner may control other connected entities or persons, or materially influence the company's management through other means.

Register of Beneficial Owners

These amendments also include the introduction of a register of beneficial owners. The purpose of which is to provide clear information about who owns or controls a company. This information will help the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission ("CIPC"), the South African Revenue Services ("SARS") and other government institutions prevent illegal activities such as money laundering and tax evasion.

Every registered company that is not a public or state-owned company must maintain a register of beneficial owners. This register must include the full name, ID/passport number, equity and/or ownership of every individual holding a beneficial interest of 5% or more in the company or share class.

How to create a Register of Beneficial Owners

It's quick and easy to create a register of beneficial owners with InfoDocs. Simply sign up for free and add a company to begin creating your register of beneficial owners. Once added, create a share register and then click View Company RegistersRegister of Beneficial OwnersView.

Updated on: 14/08/2023

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