Countries determine individually who has access to the register and whether it is publicly accessible at all. However, at least the following must have access to the UBO register:
- Investigative services, competent authorities and EU financial intelligence units
- In addition, when conducting their client due diligence services, specific professional groups such as banks, notaries or lawyers, and
- Any person or organization that can demonstrate a legitimate interest.
In July 2018, the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) of the EU entered into force. According to the AMLD 5, the register for companies will be made accessible to the general public in early 2020 and the register for trusts and similar legal arrangements will be made accessible to persons with a legitimate interest at the latest on 10 March 2020.
An exemption from such access to the register may be allowed in exceptional cases such as the exposure of the beneficial owner to a risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, violence or intimidation, or where the beneficial owner is a minor or otherwise legally incapable.