All trustees of Dutch pension funds must register as “ultimate beneficial owners” (UBOs) as part of the European Union’s policy against money laundering, the Dutch finance minister has said.
Answering questions posed by the Christian Democrats (CDA) in the senate, Wopke Hoekstra said he didn’t want to make an exception for board members of pension funds.
However, he acknowledged that it was unlikely that pension funds harboured natural persons who qualified as UBOs based on interests as an owner, voting rights or right of say.
If an UBO at a pension fund can’t be clearly identified, the scheme’s entire board must be registered as a “pseudo UBO”, Hoekstra stated.
The Pensions Federation indicated that it was not pleased with the minister’s explanation which, in its opinion, will lead to an unnecessary administrative burden for pension funds.
Last year, the industry organisation had already said that registering pension board members as UBOs was “not appropriate and disproportional”.
As part of the EU’s anti money laundering policy, all EU member states must keep a register of ultimate stakeholders of legal bodies and entities, which is accessible for the police, tax authorities as well as the Public Prosecutor.
It hadn’t been clear for a while whether pension fund trustees qualified as UBOs.
Although they are board members of pension funds managing large amounts of money, they don’t own the pension funds or their assets.
The Pensions Federation had also argued that asset managers also check their clients for money laundering risks and financing of terrorism.