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Register of Beneficial Owners (IT0059)



Action Plan: Italy Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active


Lead Institution: Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) – Marco Maceroni

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Economics and Finance (MEF), Unioncamere

Policy Areas

Anti-Corruption, Beneficial Ownership, E-Government, Gender, Marginalized Communities, Private Sector

IRM Review

IRM Report: Italy Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review


Background and objectives

The fight against money laundering and international terrorism are common objectives for all the world’s democratic countries. Not only the EU, but also the OECD (hence the most industrialized free market economies ) have set rules to make the life of money launderers and terrorists difficult. In particular, the latest EU Anti Money Laundering Directive (5th AMLD) focused on the transparency of data regarding beneficial owners. Full visibility must be given to the physical person who is the final beneficiary of transactions carried out. This is a major evolution of the system towards greater transparency for the market (meaning either consumers, businesses, or the entire economic system wishing to do business on ethical terms both as an administration and fiscal, investigation and judicial authority) and, at the same time, for professionals (including banks, insurance companies, professions, etc.) that, according to legislation, have to identify the beneficial owner before the requested transaction is carried out. Within the Italian legislation a special section of the register of companies was created. The register will include all beneficial owners of limited liability companies that, by definition, are included in the register of companies. The same register will also include the beneficial owners of private legal persons (included in prefectural registers) and trusts.

The main innovation is that the section can be accessed by anyone. There are no more limitations (as envisaged in the 4th AMDL) for entities holding specific functions (i.e. Police forces, magistrates) or interests (professions, banks). Anyone will be able to access the section on the Register of companies, out of personal curiosity, to “become familiar” with their contractor, because they are obliged by law (professions), for investigation. Clearly, transparency runs parallel to market protection and data sharing. The only exception is trusts’ beneficial owners. The Directive foresees a more traditional level of knowledge: open for those who have to investigate and cooperate; otherwise, the request is limited to those who can prove a legally protected interest.

The regulation of this complex systems ensures that the market can make fully informed choices thanks to the transparency offered by open government.
According to legislation, a beneficial owner is one or more natural persons who are the final beneficiaries of the transaction. For the purpose of implementing the above register, the legislation defines the various categories of potential beneficial owners, following a scrolling criterion. Firstly, these are the natural persons who own shares of the share capital (directly or through subsidiary or trust companies) amounting to over 25%; if no one reaches this limit, the beneficial owner is the person who controls the majority of votes in the ordinary shareholders’ meeting; if this is not the case, the person who controls enough votes to have a dominating influence, based on the existence of specific contractual provisions. If none of these conditions exists, it is assumed that it is the CEO (absolute presumption).

The main objectives to be achieved include:
- uploading the many data on beneficial owners in the section. Data are very complex due to the heterogeneity of requirements (companies already included in the Register of companies; legal persons already included in Prefectural Registries, unrecorded trusts);
- preliminary stocking of data in the section; the regulation sets a deadline for the addressees of the legislation (firstly, limited liability companies and cooperatives) listed in the register of companies have to communicate the name of the beneficial owner using the special digital forms developed in accordance with art. 20 of Legislative Decree 231 (see above). These data are uploaded in the relevant section of the register and are the starting point of the register itself at time t0. That is the beginning of the operational phase of the section of the register of companies that will be implemented following the modalities mentioned below:
- maintaining data already included in the section, updating them every time ownership changes;
- ensuring that the action is proportioned to the purpose (maximum transparency without imposing too many bureaucratic burdens on the obliged entities).

This action aims at providing transparency on beneficial owners, to counter money laundering and prevent corruption. This action is implemented through:
- the adoption of technical standards and implementing regulations;
- establishing the register and constantly updating it.

While recalling that both the 4th and 5th AMLDs focus on customer’s responsibility as a key factor to verify beneficial owners, necessarily the content of the section has to meet the same principles. This implies that the system needs to have an internal control (at least for companies) to ensure consistency with the information contained in the register of companies. This is true for the number or responses obtained (while feeding the information) compared to the group of potential beneficial owners (information known to the office); information on proprietary assets is then crosschecked (the register of companies at least for limited liability companies contains updated information on beneficial owners holding over 25% of shares; this is more complicated for joint stock companies where the list of shareholders is a picture taken when the balance sheet is produced – art.2435 of the Civil Code – a picture which is doomed to rapid obsolesce).

The latest census by Unioncamere (31 December 2018) shows that in Italy 22% of companies is run by women. This figure is slightly growing compared to the past but is very telling. We should consider that this percentage (in absolute terms 1,337.000 business women) includes all Italian companies of all types, and all product markets. During implementation, we will collect data on the presence of women among the beneficial owners in the Register.

It would be pretentious to believe that this action is part of a policy to support female entrepreneurship. However, it will be interesting to assess (when the uploading phase is over) a new gender indicator which can provide new evaluation tools for economic policy-making and for gender equality in the business sector.

Lead Administration
Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) – Marco Maceroni

Other administrations involved
• Ministry of Economics and Finance (MEF), Unioncamere Monitoring contact person from the Open Government Forum Transparency International – Italia – Davide Del Monte

IRM Midterm Status Summary

3. Register of beneficial owners

For details of this commitment, see Italy Design Report 2019-2021.


  1. Open Data

    IT0057, 2019, Access to Information

  2. Transparency

    IT0058, 2019, Access to Information

  3. Register of Beneficial Owners

    IT0059, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  4. Support to Participation

    IT0060, 2019, Capacity Building

  5. Regulation of Stakeholders

    IT0061, 2019, E-Government

  6. Culture of Open Government

    IT0062, 2019, E-Government

  7. Corruption Prevention

    IT0063, 2019, Access to Information

  8. Simplification, Performance, and Equal Opportunities

    IT0064, 2019, E-Government

  9. Digital Services

    IT0065, 2019, Capacity Building

  10. Digital Citizenship and Skills

    IT0066, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Shared National Agenda for the Enhancement of Public Data

    IT0023, 2016, Access to Information

  12. Opening Data on Mobility Through Opentrasporti

    IT0024, 2016, Access to Information

  13. Starred commitment Istat Linked Open Data

    IT0025, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Access and Reuse of Data from the Education System

    IT0026, 2016, Access to Information

  15. OpenCUP Portal – National Registry of Public Investment Projects

    IT0027, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Firenze Open Data

    IT0028, 2016, Access to Information

  17. FOIA: Implementation and Monitoring

    IT0029, 2016, Access to Information

  18. (More) Transparent Administration

    IT0030, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Social Networks for Transparency in PA

    IT0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Transparency of Data on Penitentiaries

    IT0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Consip Tenders’ Dashboard

    IT0033, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  22. Transparent Milan: Public Registry of Elected and Appointed Representatives

    IT0034, 2016, E-Government

  23. Starred commitment Open Administration Week

    IT0035, 2016, Public Participation

  24. Strategy for Participation

    IT0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Public Works 2.0

    IT0037, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Starred commitment Rome Cooperates

    IT0038, 2016, Access to Information

  27. Bologna Decides and Transforms

    IT0039, 2016, Capacity Building

  28. Supporting and Protecting Whistleblowers

    IT0040, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  29. Follow the UBB

    IT0041, 2016, Access to Information

  30. Opencoesione Plus

    IT0042, 2016, Access to Information

  31. OPENAID 2.0

    IT0043, 2016, Access to Information

  32. Anticorruption Academy

    IT0044, 2016, Anti-Corruption

  33. Network of Digital Animators

    IT0045, 2016, E-Government

  34. Schoolkit: a Strategy to Value Best Practices in Education

    IT0046, 2016, Capacity Building

  35. Monitor the Education Reform “La Buona Scuola”

    IT0047, 2016, Capacity Building

  36. Transparency Registry of the Ministry for Economic Development

    IT0048, 2016, Capacity Building

  37. Roma Capitale - Transparent Agenda

    IT0049, 2016, Capacity Building

  38. Transparent Milan: Public Agenda of Meetings of Public Decision-Makers

    IT0050, 2016, E-Government

  39. Italia.It

    IT0051, 2016, Capacity Building

  40. Starred commitment Deployment of SPID to Support Innovation

    IT0052, 2016, Access to Justice

  41. Observatory on Digital Rights

    IT0053, 2016, Capacity Building

  42. Lecce - Start-Up in the City

    IT0054, 2016, Capacity Building

  43. Promoting Digital Skills

    IT0055, 2016, Capacity Building

  44. Becoming Digital Citizens

    IT0056, 2016, Capacity Building

  45. Open public procurement data

    IT0067, 2016, Access to Information

  46. Transparent regulations

    IT0068, 2016, E-Government

  47. Digitalize administrative processes

    IT0069, 2016, Access to Information

  48. Environmental evaluations portal

    IT0070, 2016, E-Government

  49. Digital system for waste managment data

    IT0071, 2016, E-Government

  50. Guidelines for Senate consultations

    IT0072, 2016, Public Participation

  51. Participa!

    IT0017, 2014, E-Government

  52. Equip Public Administrations (PA) for Participation

    IT0018, 2014, Capacity Building

  53. TransPArenti+1

    IT0019, 2014, Access to Information

  54. Open Data Portal

    IT0020, 2014, Access to Information

  55. Starred commitment Follow the Money (Soldipubblici)

    IT0021, 2014, Access to Information

  56. Digital Citizenship

    IT0022, 2014, Capacity Building

  57. Transparency Portal

    IT0001, 2012, E-Government

  58. Better Regulatory Framework Against Corruption Within the Public Administration

    IT0002, 2012, Anti-Corruption

  59. Starred commitment Information System on the Status of Actions Falling Under the Unitary Regional Planning

    IT0003, 2012, E-Government

  60. Cost Measurement and Reduction

    IT0004, 2012, Public Participation

  61. How To... (Initiative to Promote Transparency on Public Authority’S Websites)

    IT0005, 2012, E-Government

  62. Quantitative and Qualitative Development of Relations with Citizens and PA Stakeholders

    IT0006, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  63. Facilitate Publication and Reuse of Public Data

    IT0007, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  64. Enhancing the National Open Data Portal (Www.Dati.Gov.It)

    IT0008, 2012, Access to Information

  65. Promoting National Open Data Standards

    IT0009, 2012, Access to Information

  66. National Open Data Contest

    IT0010, 2012, Access to Information

  67. Preparation of the National Plan for Smart Communities

    IT0011, 2012, Local Commitments

  68. Public Consultation on New Policies and New Legislations

    IT0012, 2012, Public Participation

  69. Enhancing Participation and Collaboration in Territorial Innovative Actions

    IT0013, 2012, Local Commitments

  70. Opening up of New Areas for Public Service Development and Delivery

    IT0014, 2012,

  71. ICT Infrastructure Enhancement in Public Administrations

    IT0015, 2012, E-Government

  72. Cloud Computing Strategic Plan, Creation of PA Data Centres Within a Public-Private Partnership

    IT0016, 2012, E-Government

Open Government Partnership