The UBO Registry versus the UBO Database. The main differences

Henrica Westhoeve
June 9, 2022 - Reading Time 5 minutes

The Chamber of Commerce has a UBO register, but at Altares Dun & Bradstreet talks about a UBO-database. These are two different databases that each provide information about a company's UBO (beneficial owner), but there are also differences between the two databases. The three main differences are explained.

Altares - UBO-database versus UBO-register

National versus International

In the Netherlands and other member states of the European Union, having a UBO register is mandatory. Companies with Specific legal forms are required to register their UBOs in the UBO register of the Chamber of Commerce. The UBO Register is thus exclusively for Dutch companies and operates only in the Netherlands. The UBO database is a global database. 70% of all Dutch companies are affiliated with companies abroad. Think of parent companies and subsidiaries, or shares held through holding companies. To get a complete picture of all UBOs, a global database is therefore important.

Voorbeeld van internationale UBO-structuur Altares Dun & Bradstreet
Example of an international UBO structure

Worldwide the laws and definitions surrounding UBOs differ. In the Netherlands you are only a UBO at 25% or more, in other countries this is already at 10%. The UBO database already records UBOs from 0.01% interest. But also shareholders and pseudo-UBOs are recorded so that you can easily set up an international due diligence process. Pseudo-UBOs are designated if a company has no UBO, in which case the most important person or persons are designated as UBO.

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Large versus small

Under Dutch law, a beneficial owner is only a UBO if he has more than 25% shares or voting rights within an organization. But someone with 23% in shares may just as well be a risk. Data from shareholders and UBOs with less than 25% interest are not found in the UBO register. As a company, you want to avoid all possible reputational damage, and this can be in a small corner. For example, is a "small shareholder" of a company you do business with involved in money laundering or terrorist financing? If so, you could suffer major reputational damage. Even small UBOs can have big consequences.

Want to know all about UBOs? Read here more

Static versus dynamic

The moment you retrieve information from the UBO register you have static UBO information. But it happens regularly that the UBO of a company changes. This happens when there are company takeovers, a company goes public or a company makes a new start. UBOs change especially often in associations and foundations. These often elect a new board each year and thus new UBOs.  It may also be the case that at the time you retrieve the information, nothing is wrong, but tomorrow it could be different. Think about the placement of a UBO on sanctions lists or watch lists. The UBO database updates the information daily, but the information you retrieved from the UBO register of the Chamber of Commerce does not automatically change with it. If you only request a batch-file with UBO's from us, this is also a form of static information. This does not change with UBO changes. Monitoring is the only way to be automatically informed of current changes in (inter)national UBO structures.

The differences between the Chamber of Commerce UBO register and Altares Dun & Bradstreet UBO database help in making the right decision. How big is your risk appetite? Do you want to monitor or is one-time information retrieval enough? Do you operate nationally, or do you also do international business? In all cases, there is a database that fits your needs.


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UBO monitoring

The Challenges and Practicalities

Understanding UBOs is a fundamental regulatory requirement in the EU Money Laundering Directive, which forms part of a risk-based approach to Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know Your Client (KYC) and Client Due Diligence (CDD) efforts. In this whitepaper, we explore ways to overcome the challenges of UBO verification and monitoring.

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