Beneficial Register of Trusts and TRS

Under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations (“MLR”) 2017 (regs 42 - 45) there is a requirement to maintain a beneficial register of trusts. Under the Trust Registration Service (“TRS”), Trustees are required to register a Trust if it has a taxation consequence.

Is compliance with the TRS also compliance with the MLR 2017?

I suspect this may be obvious for many. What I am struggling with is whether, irrespective of the TRS requirements, we should be maintaining a separate independent register of beneficial ownership of Trusts that we deal with.

Justin Wallace
Brewer Harding & Rowe

No, the two duties are distinct. Gathering information to register for the TRS will likely mean compliance with the duty to retain information in practice but they are not actually the same.

Andrew Goodman
Osborne Clarke LLP

Andrew, thank you for clarifying the distinction.

There are many Trusts where there is not a “tax consequence” and therefore potentially no need to register on the TRS. If despite this we should be maintaining a beneficial register of ownership, how far does that extend? Remainder bens on a life interest trust? Named individuals in a Discretionary Class even though they may never inherit?

Justin Wallace
Brewer Harding & Rowe

Obviously the government would like us to maintain a register of all beneficiaries of all trusts. It is a little difficult to imagine the beneficiary at three times’ remove (who is clearly never actually going to inherit) providing his National Insurance number and tax reference, and keeping the trustees informed every time he moves house.

Julian Cohen