Legislative proposal for bearer shares sent to House of Representatives

Bearer shares are being discontinued for unlisted companies. Soon, it will only be possible to trade bearer shares via a securities account. The holders of these shares will no longer be anonymous as a result. It will be easy to check who owns bearer shares based on this type of securities account or the shareholders' register of a public limited company.

This new measure is intended to prevent securities being used to finance terrorism or to engage in tax evasion or money laundering activities. In implementing this measure, the government is following the recommendations of the Global Forum and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). This is stated in draft legislation submitted to the House of Representatives today by Minister for Legal Protection Sander Dekker.

Minister Dekker: ‘Paper bearer shares are not registered and can easily change ownership because the holder is not recorded. This characteristic makes them susceptible to misuse. Discontinuing them will contribute to the integrity of the financial system.’ Anyone with paper bearer shares can return them to the company which issued them and will receive registered shares in exchange.

Other countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium have implemented similar measures, due in part to the recommendations of the Global Forum and the FATF.