June 28, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, lawmakers in both houses of Congress took action to end the formation of anonymous companies in the U.S. The True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement (TITLE) Act introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and the Corporate Transparency Act introduced by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Peter King (R-NY), require the disclosure of the natural persons who own or control companies (known as “beneficial owners”) at the time of incorporation.
Heather Lowe, GFI’s Legal Counsel & Director of Government Affairs, described the importance of knowing the beneficial owners of companies in prepared remarks for her testimony today before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit:
“It is critical that information about the natural person(s) who own or control companies (the beneficial owners) is finally collected by either the state or federal government and is made available to law enforcement and to financial institutions. Companies with unknown or hidden ownership are the number one problem in the AML world and the U.S. cannot continue to allow our failure to act to put the U.S. and global financial system at risk.”
“Incorporation transparency is a bipartisan issue,” GFI’s Policy Counsel Liz Confalone said. “Left, right, and center, Americans are concerned by the current rampant practice of forming and using anonymous companies in the U.S. These companies have been used to drive up real estate prices in our cities, funnel opioids into our communities, and jeopardize our national security efforts. By any measure, the cost of anonymity is too high.”
Notes to Editors:
- Click here for the press release from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
- Click here for more information on Ms. Lowe’s testimony before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.
- Click here for more information on the issue of anonymous companies.
- Click here to read the GFI-Global Witness report “Chancing It: How Secret Company Ownership is a Risk to Investors.