ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) notified on Thursday the forms for reporting beneficial ownership information in companies, to meet the requirements of section 452 of the Companies Act of 2017.

Notifying these forms will help streamline and document the offshore assets held by Pakistanis who are also partners or operators of businesses in the country, an SECP official said.

The annexure I of the law is the form for reporting to the company by the substantial shareholder or officer of a company who is a citizen of Pakistan, including dual citizenship holder, his shareholding or other interest in a foreign company or body corporate within 30 days of holding such position or interest.

The annexure II specifies the form for reporting to the registrar by the company the aforesaid information received by the company during the year within 60 days of the promulgation of the act and thereafter along with its annual returns as required by the act.

The companies act has defined a substantial shareholder as a person who has a minimum of 10 per cent shareholding interest or voting power in a company.

The officer has been defined to include any director, chief executive, chief financial officer, company secretary or other authorised officer of a company.

The section 452 of the act envisages the SECP to establish a global register of beneficial ownership.

The law is applicable to Pakistanis, including dual citizens (whether living in or outside Pakistan), who have substantial shareholding or are officer of a company that is incorporated under the companies’ law.

These people having shareholding in a foreign company or body corporate will have to report their shareholding or any other interest as may be notified by the SECP on a specified form.

The SECP has explained that a foreign company means a company or body corporate incorporated or registered in any form outside Pakistan regardless of the fact that it has a place of business or conducts any business activity or has a liaison office in Pakistan or not.

The beneficial ownership of shareholders or officer of a company means the ownership of securities beneficially owned, held or controlled by any officer or substantial shareholder directly or indirectly by an individual, his/her spouse, or minor son or daughter of an officer, including stepchildren.

The law identifies harsh penalties for those who fail to provide any information in this regard.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2017

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