What is a beneficial owner? How does it differ from a major shareholder?


The term "beneficial owner" refers to the person or entity that reaps the benefits of a property, even if the legal title is held by someone else. They are the real beneficiaries of the property.

What Does "Beneficial Owner" Mean?

A "Beneficial Owner" refers to an individual or entity that is entitled to the benefits of a property, despite the legal title possibly being held by another person. The beneficial owner is, in practice, the person who benefits from the property.

Beneficial owners can be individuals who directly own a property, or they can hold property rights indirectly, such as through trusts or partnerships. Beneficial owners may enjoy the proceeds, control, decision-making power, or other related rights of a property, even if the legal title belongs to another individual or entity.

The Difference Between a Beneficial Owner and a Major Shareholder

"Beneficial Owner" and "Major Shareholder" are two distinct concepts with differences in equity and company ownership.

  1. A beneficial owner is an individual or entity that actually enjoys rights over certain properties, even if the legal ownership is attributed to someone else. In terms of equity, a beneficial owner is someone who benefits from the company's shares, regardless of whether they officially own the shares. Beneficial owners can enjoy the benefits and rights of shares either by directly holding them or indirectly through mechanisms like trusts or partnerships. They may have voting rights, benefit from earnings, and decision-making authority.
  2. A major shareholder, on the other hand, refers to a shareholder owning a large portion of a company's shares. Major shareholders typically have a higher proportion of shares, enabling them to have a significant influence on company decisions and operations. Major shareholders can be individuals, institutions, or other companies, and their shareholding percentage varies according to different laws and regulations.

Therefore, beneficial owners focus on actual equity interests and earnings, while major shareholders focus on holding a larger share percentage in the company and influencing its decisions. In some cases, the beneficial owner and major shareholder may be the same person or organization, but this is not always the case due to differences in shareholder structure and beneficial ownership.

Criteria for Determining a Beneficial Owner

The criteria for determining a beneficial owner can vary based on specific legal and regulatory requirements. Generally, common criteria include:

  1. Actual benefit right: A beneficial owner is an individual or entity that actually enjoys the rights of a particular property. This means that even if another person holds legal ownership, the beneficial owner derives actual benefits and rights from it.
  2. Control and influence: A beneficial owner may have control or influence over specific assets or entities. This can be manifest through direct or indirect shareholding, the possession of decision-making authority, or influence over transaction decisions.
  3. Ownership percentage: Generally, if an individual or entity owns a certain threshold percentage of a company's shares, typically 25% or higher, they may be considered a beneficial owner of that company. This threshold varies according to different laws and regulatory body stipulations.
  4. Actual control and decision-making power: A beneficial owner may be the person who has actual control and decision-making authority over an entity. This includes management rights, decision-making power, and the ability to guide.

It's important to note that the specific criteria for a beneficial owner can differ by country, legal system, and industry. In practice, it may be necessary to refer to relevant legal and regulatory guidelines to identify the beneficial owner's identity and rights.

Risk Warning and Disclaimer

The market carries risks, and investment should be cautious. This article does not constitute personal investment advice and has not taken into account individual users' specific investment goals, financial situations, or needs. Users should consider whether any opinions, viewpoints, or conclusions in this article are suitable for their particular circumstances. Investing based on this is at one's own responsibility.

The End


Beneficial Owner

A beneficial owner is the individual who legally owns or enjoys a certain asset or interest.

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