Beneficial Ownership Information and why its important

For detailed information and reporting links, visit the FinCen website: Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting |

Beneficial Ownership Information refers to details about individuals who ultimately own or control a legal entity, such as a company, trust, or partnership. This information is crucial for transparency, anti-money laundering (AML) efforts, and combating financial crimes like tax evasion and corruption. Here are some key points about beneficial ownership information:


  1. **Definition**: Beneficial ownership refers to the natural person(s) who ultimately own or control a legal entity, either directly or indirectly, and benefit from its activities.


  1. **Purpose**: The collection and disclosure of beneficial ownership information help prevent illicit activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and corruption. It enhances transparency in financial transactions and contributes to the integrity of the financial system.


  1. **Regulatory Requirements**: Many countries have regulations requiring companies and other legal entities to identify and disclose their beneficial owners. These requirements vary in scope and detail but generally aim to create transparency and accountability.


  1. **Information Included**: Beneficial ownership information typically includes details such as the individual’s name, date of birth, nationality, residential address, percentage of ownership or control, and the nature of their control (e.g., through shareholding or voting rights).


  1. **Verification and Due Diligence**: Entities responsible for collecting beneficial ownership information often conduct verification and due diligence procedures to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided.


  1. **Privacy and Confidentiality**: While transparency is crucial, there are also concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of beneficial owners. Balancing these interests is a challenge for regulators and policymakers.


  1. **Global Initiatives**: International organizations like the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have issued guidelines and recommendations on beneficial ownership transparency to promote global standards and cooperation in this area.


  1. **Technological Solutions**: Advances in technology, such as blockchain and digital identity systems, are being explored to improve the efficiency and security of collecting, verifying, and sharing beneficial ownership information.


  1. **Compliance Challenges**: Implementing beneficial ownership requirements can pose challenges for businesses, especially smaller entities, in terms of compliance costs, data management, and understanding complex ownership structures.


  1. **Ongoing Evolution**: Beneficial ownership regulations and practices continue to evolve as authorities seek to enhance transparency, combat financial crimes, and adapt to technological advancements and global risks.


Overall, beneficial ownership information plays a vital role in promoting transparency, integrity, and accountability in the financial and corporate sectors, although it also presents challenges that require careful consideration and ongoing regulatory refinement.

Why do you need it?

There are several reasons why you may need to disclose beneficial ownership information or ensure compliance with related regulations:


  1. **Legal Requirements**: In many jurisdictions, there are legal requirements mandating the disclosure of beneficial ownership information for certain types of entities. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties, fines, or legal consequences.


  1. **Transparency and Accountability**: Disclosing beneficial ownership information promotes transparency and accountability within your organization. It helps stakeholders, including investors, regulators, and the public, understand who ultimately owns or controls the entity and how decisions are made.


  1. **Compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Regulations**: AML regulations aim to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit activities. Collecting and disclosing beneficial ownership information is often a key part of AML compliance measures.


  1. **Combatting Financial Crimes**: Beneficial ownership information is crucial for identifying and preventing financial crimes such as tax evasion, fraud, corruption, and embezzlement. It allows authorities to trace and investigate suspicious or illegal activities.


  1. **Enhancing Trust and Credibility**: By being transparent about beneficial ownership, you demonstrate a commitment to ethical business practices, which can enhance trust and credibility with customers, partners, and stakeholders.


  1. **Avoiding Reputational Risks**: Failing to disclose beneficial ownership information or being non-compliant with regulations can lead to reputational risks. It may raise suspicions about the integrity of your business operations and deter potential partners or investors.


  1. **Global Standards and Expectations**: In an increasingly interconnected world, there is a growing expectation for businesses to adhere to global standards of transparency and corporate governance. Disclosing beneficial ownership information aligns with these expectations.


  1. **Preventing Regulatory Violations**: Compliance with beneficial ownership regulations helps prevent violations of laws and regulations related to corporate governance, financial reporting, and disclosure requirements.


  1. **Supporting Financial Institutions and Partners**: Financial institutions and business partners often require access to accurate beneficial ownership information as part of their due diligence processes. Providing this information promptly and accurately can facilitate smoother transactions and relationships.


  1. **Future-Proofing Your Business**: As regulatory requirements evolve and transparency expectations increase, proactively managing and disclosing beneficial ownership information can help future-proof your business and avoid potential compliance issues down the line.


In summary, disclosing beneficial ownership information and ensuring compliance with related regulations are essential for legal, ethical, and reputational reasons. It demonstrates your commitment to transparency, integrity, and responsible business practices while also helping to mitigate risks associated with financial crimes and regulatory non-compliance.

Employee Acceptable Use Policy for using AI at Work

Purpose: This Acceptable Use Policy outlines the guidelines and expectations for employees using Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the workplace. The policy is designed to ensure responsible and ethical use of AI tools, promoting a secure and productive work environment while safeguarding the privacy and sensitive information of both the organization and its stakeholders.

Scope: This policy applies to all employees, contractors, and third-party collaborators who utilize AI technologies in the course of their work for the organization.


1. Authorized Use: Employees are permitted to use AI technologies provided or approved by the organization for work-related tasks, as outlined by their job responsibilities and tasks designated by their supervisors.

2. Data Privacy and Security: a. All AI activities involving sensitive information, confidential data, and personally identifiable information (PII) must be carried out following the organization’s data protection and privacy policies. b. Employees must not use AI technologies to access, collect, or manipulate data that they are not authorized to access.

3. Responsible AI Usage: a. Employees must ensure that AI tools are used ethically, avoiding any actions that could cause harm or discriminate against individuals or groups based on race, gender, age, religion, or any other protected characteristics. b. The use of AI for fraudulent, malicious, or deceptive activities is strictly prohibited.

4. Compliance with Laws and Regulations: Employees must adhere to all applicable laws, regulations, and industry standards related to AI usage, data protection, privacy, and intellectual property.

5. Intellectual Property: a. When utilizing AI tools to develop new software, applications, algorithms, or processes, employees must follow the organization’s intellectual property policies. b. Employees must respect third-party intellectual property rights when using AI tools.

6. Transparency and Accountability: a. If an employee’s role involves AI-generated content or interactions with stakeholders, they must disclose when AI is being used to ensure transparency. b. Employees are accountable for the outcomes of AI-generated actions performed under their supervision.

7. Avoiding Bias: a. When utilizing AI technologies that involve data processing, employees must make efforts to identify and mitigate biases that could lead to unfair or discriminatory outcomes. b. If an employee suspects bias in AI-generated outputs, they should promptly report the issue to their supervisor or the designated contact.

8. Reporting Misuse or Concerns: a. Employees should promptly report any misuse or concerns related to AI technologies to their supervisor, IT department, or the designated contact. b. Reports of possible AI-related security breaches or vulnerabilities must be submitted as per the organization’s security incident reporting procedures.

9. Training and Education: The organization will provide training and educational resources to employees to enhance their understanding of AI technologies, ethics, and best practices.

10. Consequences of Violations: Failure to adhere to this policy may result in disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of employment or legal action, depending on the severity and impact of the violation.

Conclusion: By following this Acceptable Use Policy for Employees Using AI at Work, employees contribute to a responsible, ethical, and secure use of AI technologies. Adherence to these guidelines ensures that AI tools contribute positively to the organization’s objectives while maintaining a safe and respectful work environment.

Your secret weapon in the war against cyber extortion.

What is Ransomware?

Malicious software that locks your files and demands payment to access them.

Ransomware is a term for the many variations of malware that infect computer systems, typically by social engineering schemes.

A cryptovirology attack encrypts critical files and systems and renders them inaccessible to the owner.

Ransomware sometimes marks the files for permanent deletion or publication on the internet. The perpetrators then demand a payment (usually in untraceable cryptocurrency like Bitcoin) for the private key required to decrypt and access the files. Infamous ransomware examples include CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, Locky, Cerber, KeyRanger, SamSam, TeslaCrypt, TorrentLocker, and Reveton.

Who are Ransomware Perpetrators?

Cybercriminals who profit greatly by violating businesses that rely on data as a lifeblood.

Ransomware cybercriminals are organized and profitable. It is estimated that this type of attack earns criminals $10 million to $50 million per month.

There are entire ransomware outfits working out of office buildings, making the stealthy and disruptive pieces of malicious software, and designing deceptively simple schemes to infiltrate small to medium sized businesses.

The criminals are business-minded innovators. Recently, a Ransomware-as-a-Service organized cybercrime ring was discovered, which infected around 150,000 victims in 201 countries in July 2016; splitting profits 40% to malware authors and 60% to those who discover new targets.

The overhead is low, the profits are high, the Bitcoin is anonymous, the list of targets is endless, the technology is not overly complicated, and the odds of getting caught are low. Ransomware perpetrators are sophisticated, profit-hungry, cybercriminals on the lookout for unsuspecting SMBs to violate.

Could my business be a Ransomware victim?

In a word: Yes.

Ransomware perpetrators cast a wide net. They target small to medium sized businesses with IT security loopholes, valuable data, and a modest budget to pay the ransom.

If data is important to your business, you are a target.

To get in to your systems, they may send a phishing email to your staff. Because 94% of people can’t distinguish between a real email and a phishing email 100% of the time, they get in. And if they don’t, they try again until someone somewhere clicks the link.

Want to learn more? Contact us today for a free assessment.