What is meant by beneficial ownership and beneficial owner?

The fight against financial crime, both in the world and in Russia in particular, gets worse year by year.

The outflow of capital from Russia, according to estimates of the Central Bank of the RF for 2014, amounted to more than 150 bln USD, compared to 61 bln USD in 2013. It is no secret, that significant financial resources are deposited overseas on bank accounts of individuals and legal entities, often with the use of illegal or "gray" schemes. In this context, issues of determination and verification of beneficial owners becomes more and more actual.

The efforts of the international community in this direction took shape in the establishment of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which had been formed at the initiative of the "Big Seven" countries in 1989. The Group FATF includes 34 countries and 2 international organizations now.

In 2000 the Wolfsberg Group was organized, which joined together the world's largest banks: Banco Santander, Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan Chase, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS.

In 2012 the Group FATF recommended "International standards for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" to practical application for credit organizations. These standards determine the reasonable measures to verify beneficial owner, concretized in October 2014 by a special guide of FATF - "Transparency and beneficial ownership", the description of possible ways to hide the information on beneficial ownership, the interpretation of the concept "beneficial owner" and recommendations for the detection of the beneficial owners.

In May 2012 the Wolfsberg Group published the "Comments on questions of the determination of beneficial ownership, arising in the process of application of the principles of Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles for Private Banking".

In its most general form, the main principles of determination and adequate verification of beneficial owners in order to counteract the legalization (laundering) of income received by criminal way, which are specified by above-mentioned documents, can be formulated as follows:

  • beneficial owner is a natural person, who, whether through the ownership or on other grounds, ultimately controls funds on a bank account;
  • beneficial ownership must be established for all bank accounts;
  • adequate verification in this or that volume is required, it is carried out in any case and regardless of the requirements of national laws on disclosure of information concerning companies;
  • ultimate purposes of the adequate verification are to detect disparity of the information collected by opening of an account and identify an initial primary source of funds in the bank account, i.e. a source of wealth, among them to make connections of a natural person in ownership and management structures of legal entities.

By letter of the Bank of Russia from 02.06.2015 N 014-12-4 / 4780 "On issues of definition of beneficial owners" it was explained that to identify the beneficial owners of clients by transactions with funds or other property, in accordance with the Federal Law from 07.08.2001 N 115 FZ "On counteraction to legalization (laundering) of income received by criminal way, and financing of terrorism", credit and financial institutions may use recommendations from the mentioned documents of FATF and the Wolfsberg Group.

With the help of the Information and analytical system Globas-i® it is possible to verify the ownership and management structure of legal entities in Russia, and also to order such information on foreign companies.

Changing dynamics of the number of unemployed as a mirror of the Russian economy

Key economic indicators in Russia in the 1st quarter of 2015 showed a decrease within 4% -10%, as predicted back in 2014. According to experts of the Information Agency Credinform, the Russian economy is significantly affected primarily by internal problems. This situation is aggravated by such factors as: the mutual sanctions of Russia and the Western countries; falling prices for oil and other natural resources; weakening of the ruble against the US dollar and euro; capital outflow from Russia; decline in investments; business recession etc. Along with that, preliminary results of economic development in the 2nd quarter of 2015 show that, in spite of slowdown, the decline rates of the main indicators have been slowing from month to month.

Mentioned negative trends in the Russian economy appear mirror image in the domestic labor market. Thus, the number of unemployed, according to the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) in accordance with the methodology of the International Labour Organization, has already exceeded 4 mln people in the 1st half of 2015 (s. Table). Though in 2014 this indicator made slightly less than 3,9 mln people. And starting from 2010 through 2014 there was a significant decrease in the number of unemployed, which reached almost 30% in 2014 compared with 2010. However, following the results of the 1st half of 2015 the growth of the average value of the number of unemployed amounted to more than 10% against the indicator of the year 2014.

Table. Dynamics of the number of unemployed in May-June 2015
  Total number of
Number of officially
registered unemployed
(as of the end of month)
  in % to   in % to
ths people corresponding period of the
previous year
previous period ths people corresponding period of the
previous year
previous period
January 4167 97,9 1) 103,0 1) 924 97,3 1) 102,6 1)
February 4410 101,5 1) 105,8 991 102,1 1) 107,2
March 4503 108,7 1) 102,1 1001 104,7 1) 101,1
April 4420 108,8 1) 98,2 1017 107,4 1) 101,5
May 4292 113,5 1) 97,1 1004 109,6 1) 98,8
June 4091 2) 108,6 1) 95,3 974 110,9 1) 97,0

The data of the Federal State Statistics Service:
1) In order to ensure the statistical comparability of data, the relative indicators of the Russian Federation are calculated without taking into account the information on the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.
2) Preliminary data.

Peak number of unemployed in the 1st half was in March-April 2015, when it reached 4,5 mln people in March, that made 5,9% of the economically active population, in April – 4,4 mln people (5.8%). Although in January 2015 there were 4,2 mln unemployed people (5,5%) noticed. Such way the labor market reacted to the negative trends of the Russian economy of the 1st quarter. Because the rates of economy decline have slowed in the 2nd quarter, forecasts for the improvement have appeared in the estimates of experts. It has certainly resulted in the reducing dynamics on the labor market. In June, according to preliminary results, the number of unemployed reached only 4,1 mln people (5,4%).

Similar trends are appropriate to the indicator of the number of officially registered unemployed in the 1st half of 2015 (s. Table). Also, the peak number of officially unemployed persons was in March-April 2015. In March the number of officially unemployed amounted to 1001 ths people, in April - 1017 ths people. As percent of the previous month the highest increase in the number is registered in February – 7,2%, in March and April the growth rate slowed down to 1,1% and 1,5% respectively, and in June the decrease amounted to 3%. On the other hand, the experts believe that the trend of decline of the number of unemployed is of seasonal nature.

The largest number of layoffs, according to experts, is noticed among lending managers; specialists in loans; securities analysts; sales managers, development managers; real estate brokers and others. It is believed that the current situation in the Russian economy has changed the balance of power in the labor market – employers have become dominant in it. Such situation allows them to dictate their conditions by recruitment of employees.

Against this background, the Ministry of Labour has fixed a stringency on the market in 19 regions of Russia. Thus, by the order dated May 27, 2015 the Ministry of Labor has formed a list of areas classified as areas with the tense situation in the labor market in 2015. Most of territories are located in the Siberian Federal District (8 areas) and the North-Caucasian Federal District (6). The rest areas are in the Southern Federal District - 2, in the North-Western FD - 1, Ural FD - 1, Far-Eastern Federal District - 1.

In the current economic conditions 52 bln RUB were allocated by the state for the fight against unemployment within the anti-crisis plan. It will allow to direct state subsidies for public works; temporary employment of citizens; creation of additional work places; to organize citizens, who has lost the job, for using them in infrastructure and other sectors.