For more than 40 years, the government has allowed foreigners to hold shares in Norwegian companies anonymously. Now they want to disclose information about who is hidden behind the trustee account-there is a fee.
A press release issued by the Ministry of Trade and Industry stated that the government is proposing new rules to increase the transparency of Norwegian foreign stock owners.
They propose to give the public the right to obtain who owns the registered shares of the nominee.
Trade and Industry Minister Iselin Nybø said Norway has a long tradition of openness regarding who owns shares in Norwegian companies. However, it has been possible for foreigners to own stocks anonymously for more than 40 years.
-Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø stated that this establishes a principle that all shareholders of Norwegian companies should be transparent.
The ministry wrote that in 2019 about 40% of the value of the shares of the Oslo Stock Exchange was owned by foreign investors. Most of these shares are registered by nominees. This means that the actual owner’s name of these shares will not appear in the company’s ownership data, and the ownership of the shares is registered through a nominee.
If access is requested, the company itself must obtain information about who is the owner of the nominee’s registered shares.
The ministry wrote: “In order to reduce the burden on the business community, it is recommended that the person requesting the interview should bear the actual cost of the company to meet the request.
Several companies do not allow anonymous shareholders to participate in the company’s general meeting of shareholders and vote. The government is now proposing to formulate rules to ensure that owners of nominee shares should have the same rights and opportunities as other shareholders to participate in the company’s general meeting of shareholders and vote.
-Norwegian industry and commerce will make major choices in the future. So importantly, shareholders can influence the company’s choice of direction by participating in the general meeting of shareholders and voting on it. Nybø said the government’s proposal greatly simplifies the participation of foreign shareholders in the company’s activities by attending and voting at the general meeting of shareholders.
E24 has written before
An anonymous investor with the address of Saudi Arabia made billions of dollars on Equinor. Equinor later confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s government investment fund was behind the anonymous nominee’s account. Then, the fund disappeared from Equinor’s list of 20 largest shareholders.
Also in the Entra acquisition battle, the accounts of nominees, including SEB and Danske Bank, also became the top of the shareholder list, where the ownership renewal was carried out through the notification service provided to the Oslo Stock Exchange.