Due Diligence

What is a Beneficial Owner?

Monday, July 13, 2020

Put simply a Beneficial Owner is the human being that ‘Benefits’ from owning an art object.

This is where the 5th anti-money laundering directive (5AMLD) tries to help determine who the proceeds of the sale will benefit and whom is actually taking ownership of the works.

Consider for a moment when we are selling a work of art to a private client or a collector.

In such instances, we know that the client buying from us will be the sole owner of the work of art. Hence, the client we are dealing with is considered the Beneficial Owner.

Complexity and confusion arises when we are selling to an organisation, business, museum, trust, foundation. That is to say: Any instances where our point of contact is an intermediary and we are unable to ascertain whom the actual owner will be.

To correctly identify whom the Beneficial Owner is in such instances, we may need to refer to public registers to ascertain identities of those owning an interest in the organisation.

Learn more about how to identify Beneficial Owners here

In both cases, we’re required to keep a record on file of the Beneficial Owners.

It is worth noting that identifying the Beneficial Owner is only relevant for art businesses registered under the 5AMLD and in transactions above the €10,000 threshold.

In compliance with GDPR and Data Protection, we’ll need to ensure these records are encrypted as they contain sensitive information.