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Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) vs Persons of Significant Control (PSC)

Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) vs Persons of Significant Control (PSC)
Mar 08, 2024 Niamh Hunter Updated On: March 14, 2024

Distinguishing between Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) and Persons of Significant Control (PSCs) is crucial for financial security and compliance in business, particularly due to evolving financial regulations and economic challenges.

Stay ahead of regulatory compliance and safeguard against financial risks with the Red Flag Alert experts, as we unravel the disparities between these two entities, and decode their roles and implications in various industries.


What is an Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO)?

At the heart of corporate governance lies the concept of the Ultimate Beneficial Owner. 

Simply put, a UBO is an individual who holds ultimate ownership or control over a company or asset, reaping its benefits regardless of formal ownership documentation. 

As financial regulations evolve, the identification and verification of UBOs have become imperative for entities across diverse sectors.


Understanding UBO Checks

A UBO check refers to the process of identifying and verifying the individuals who ultimately own or control a company or asset. These checks are conducted to ensure corporate ownership structure transparency and mitigate risks such as fraud, money laundering, and corruption.

The UBO check typically involves examining the ownership of shares or voting rights in a company to determine who holds significant control or benefits from its operations. 

This process may also involve investigating complex ownership chains, nominee arrangements, and other structures designed to obscure the true ownership of assets.

UBO checks are often mandated by regulatory authorities in various industries, such as banking, real estate, and legal services, as part of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance requirements. 

By conducting UBO checks, businesses can verify the identities of their clients or partners, assess their risk exposure, and ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.


What are Persons of Significant Control (PSC)?

Understanding and identifying PSCs is essential for maintaining the integrity of corporate structures and promoting transparency in business operations.

A PSC (Person of Significant Control) refers to an individual or legal entity that holds significant influence or control over a company. 

PSCs are typically identified based on criteria set by regulatory authorities, often including factors such as ownership of shares or voting rights, the ability to appoint or remove directors, or the power to exercise significant influence or control over the company's operations.

Similar to UBOs, PSCs play a crucial role in ensuring transparency and accountability in corporate governance. 

Identifying and disclosing PSCs is important for regulatory compliance and risk management purposes, as it helps to prevent financial crimes such as money laundering, corruption, and tax evasion.

In many jurisdictions, companies are required to maintain a register of their PSCs and disclose this information to the relevant authorities. Failure to comply with PSC disclosure requirements can result in legal penalties and reputational damage for the company.


The Distinction: UBO vs. PSC

While UBOs and Persons of Significant Control (PSC) often intersect, it is important to remember they are different.

While UBOs primarily focus on ultimate ownership and benefit entitlements, PSCs wield substantial influence over a company's operational decisions and directorial appointments. 

Understanding this contrast is crucial for regulatory compliance and risk mitigation strategies.

Decode UBOs and PSCs in Seconds with Red Flag Alert

At Red Flag Alert, we are passionate about providing businesses the tools they need to have a hands-on approach to data, without the exhaustive resources usually required. 

By offering extensive databases with daily updates, Red Flag Alert covers both UK and international companies to ensure our users have access to complete information for UBO and PSC checks. 

With a user-friendly interface, anyone can quickly navigate complex ownership structures. Our simple process allows any member of staff at any skill level to decipher the corporate web and understand UBO relationships, saving time and reducing the need for specialised training. 

We also take it one step further. UBOs are only required to be flagged if they own 25% or more of the business in question. However, Red Flag Alert breaks down every UBO within a company’s structure, down to 0.01%.

In turn, AML compliance is facilitated across the board, complete with just a few clicks. Not only does this streamline onboarding and the verification of client identities, but it also ensures compliance with regulatory obligations. 

Without this, non-compliance with these regulations can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines.

By providing these insights into corporate ownership structures and identifying potential UBOs and PSCs, Red Flag Alert also helps businesses mitigate risks associated with fraud, money laundering, and other illicit activities. This proactive approach to risk management protects businesses from financial losses and reputational damage.

Unlock Compliance Efficiency with Red Flag Alert

Red Flag Alert accelerates compliance and risk processes by offering comprehensive UBO and PSC data presented in a clear and understandable format. 

We will save your business time and resources, giving you the space you need to focus on core activities with the peace of mind that regulatory compliance requirements are closely adhered to. 

Get in touch for your free trial today, and embrace digital transformation across UBO and PSC data to enhance onboarding and business growth.


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