Nominees act as the legal manager, owner or shareholder of limited companies or assets. They act on behalf of the real manager, owner or shareholder of these entities. These nominees obscure the reality of who is really operating or benefiting from the company and are often used when the beneficial owners do not wish to disclose their identity or role in the company. Professional nominees are paid a fee for their services but otherwise have no interest in the transactions. Nominees could also be family members or friends. Often, nominees pre-sign documentation, such as letters of resignation, which the beneficial owner can choose to effect at any time.
Why it matters
Governments should establish mandatory, public registers that disclose the beneficial ownership of trust funds and companies. Public registers of beneficial ownership would allow ill-gotten gains to be more easily traced and make it more difficult and less attractive for people to benefit from the proceeds of corruption and crime.