The General Laws (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment Act (no. 22 of 2022) came into force on 1 April 2023, and amends the Trust Property Control Act [as well as the Nonprofit Organisations Act (no.71 of 1997), the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (no.38 of 2001), and the Companies Act (no.71 of 2008)]. It is hereinafter referred to as “the Amendment Act”.
The amendments to the Trust Property Control Act are significant – the intention is to increase the disclosure requirements on trustees, to prevent the misuse of trusts, and to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes.
The amendments comprise:
- The insertion of the definition of ‘‘accountable institution’’
- Increased disclosure requirements for trustees in relation to an accountable institution
- The insertion of a new definition of ‘‘beneficial owner’’ of a trust
- Specifying information that must be kept by trustees in relation to beneficial owners in relation to trusts
- Requiring the Master to maintain a register containing information relating to beneficial ownership of trusts
The purpose of creating classes of ‘beneficial owners’ is to place an obligation on the trustees and the Master to keep records of the individuals who fall within these classes – which records will be useful to combat money laundering and terrorism.
It is important to note that a distinction needs to be drawn between a beneficiary of a trust and the definition of a beneficial owner introduced by the Amendment Act, the latter being introduced for the above-named reasons. The requirement for trustees to record and disclose this information makes the control and use of trust structures in South Africa more regulated, certain and transparent.
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