UAE: Cabinet Decision No. (109) of 2023 Regulating the Beneficial Owner Procedures

July 5, 2024 | 7 min read

Cabinet Decision No. (109) of 2023 regulating Beneficial Owner Procedures (the “Resolution”) came into effect on 6 November 2023 and replaced Cabinet Resolution No. 58 of 2020 issued earlier this year. The Decision enhances the regulatory framework for identifying and maintaining records of Beneficial Owners in the UAE. It introduces more stringent compliance and reporting requirements, establishes clearer procedures for record-keeping and notifications, and ensures alignment with international standards for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The decision also formalizes the establishment of an anti-money laundering unit within the Registrar’s office, highlighting the UAE’s commitment to transparency and international cooperation.


The Decision applies to registrars and legal persons licensed or registered in the UAE, including commercial free zones, but exempts entities wholly owned by the government and those in financial free zones.

Registration and Licensing Requirements:

Legal persons must provide comprehensive data during registration or licensing, including details about senior management and the entity’s legal representative in the UAE.

The decision prohibits the use of confusingly similar names and mandates the clear identification of legal persons' addresses for correspondence.

Beneficial Ownership:

Defines a Beneficial Owner as anyone with direct or indirect ownership or control of 25% or more of a legal person’s capital or voting rights.

Legal persons are required to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of Beneficial Owners and notify any changes within 15 days.

Establishes procedures for identifying and notifying potential Beneficial Owners.

Nominee Board Members:

Nominee Board Members must inform the legal person of their status and provide required data within 15 days of their appointment.

Registers and Record-Keeping:

Legal persons must maintain detailed records of partners or shareholders and update these within 15 days of any changes.

These records must be submitted to the registrar within 60 days of the decision’s enforcement or the entity’s registration.

Registrar’s Obligations and Transparency:

Registrars are tasked with issuing notifications, automating data, and ensuring public access to basic legal person data.

An administrative unit for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing is to be established within the registrar’s office.

Data Confidentiality and Cooperation:

The Ministry and registrar are prohibited from disclosing Beneficial Owner data without written approval, except as required by law or international agreements.

The decision emphasizes local and international cooperation, facilitating access to data for competent authorities.

Key Takeaways

Enhanced Transparency and Accountability:

The decision imposes stringent requirements for the disclosure of Beneficial Owners and detailed record-keeping, promoting greater transparency in business operations.

Strengthened Regulatory Framework:

By establishing clear definitions and obligations, the decision enhances the UAE’s ability to combat financial crimes effectively, aligning with global standards.

Increased Responsibilities for Legal Persons and Registrars:

Legal entities must ensure compliance with detailed data submission and maintenance requirements, while registrars are responsible for overseeing and enforcing these obligations.

Focus on Risk Management:

The decision mandates a risk-based approach, particularly for complex ownership structures, ensuring that entities most at risk of being used for illicit activities are closely monitored.

International Cooperation:

The decision highlights the UAE's commitment to international cooperation in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, facilitating data sharing with foreign counterparts.

In conclusion, Cabinet Decision No. (109) of 2023 represents a comprehensive effort by the UAE to enhance its regulatory framework, ensuring that legal persons operate with greater transparency and accountability. This decision not only aligns the UAE with international best practices but also strengthens its defenses against financial crimes, contributing to a more secure and reputable business environment.

How can MBG help?

  • Prepare registers of the UBOs, Partners / Shareholders and Nominee Directors / Managers (if applicable), in accordance with the Decision.
  • Arrange filing with the authorities.
  • Maintain the relevant registers on a dedicated company secretarial database on an ongoing basis.
  • Inform the relevant authority of any changes or amendments to the information provided.
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