Companies Significant Beneficial Owners (SBO) Rules 2018

The Companies Significant Beneficial Owners Rules, 2018 as amended by the Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) second Amendment Rules 2019.

The Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) Rules, 2018 as amended by the Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) second Amendment Rules, 2019.

Chapter VII (Sections 88 to 122 ) of the Companies Act, 2013 deals with the provisions related to Management and Administration. You may read provisions of section 90 “Register of significant beneficial owners in a company”.

The Companies significant beneficial owners rules 2018 was applicable from 13th June 2018 and was last updated on 1st July 2019 by the Companies significant beneficial owners 2nd amendment rules 2019.

The Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) Rules, 2018

[The principal rules were published vide G.S.R. 561(E), dated 13-06-2018 and was last amended by G.S.R. 466(E) dated 01-07-2019]

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 90 read with sub-section (1) of section 469 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely:

Rule-1: Short title and commencement

(1) These rules may be called the Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) Rules, 2018.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

Rule-2: Definitions

(1) In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires,-

  • (a) “Act” means the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013);
  • (b) “control” means control as defined in clause (27) of section 2 of the Act;
  • (c) “form” means the form specified in Annexure to these rules;
  • (d) “majority stake” means;-
    • (i) holding more than one-half of the equity share capital in the body corporate; or
    • (ii) holding more than one-half of the voting rights in the body corporate; or
    • (iii) having the right to receive or participate in more than one-half of the distributable dividend or any other distribution by the body corporate;
  • (e) “partnership entity” means a partnership firm registered under the Indian Partnership Act, 1932 (9 of 1932) or a limited liability partnership registered under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (6 of 2009);
  • (f) “reporting company” means a company as defined in clause (20) of section 2 of the Act, required to comply with the requirements of section 90 of the Act;
  • (g) “section” means a section of the Act;
  • (h) “significant beneficial owner” in relation to a reporting company means an individual referred to in subsection (1) of section 90, who acting alone or together, or through one or more persons or trust, possesses one or more of the following rights or entitlements in such reporting company, namely:-
    • (i) holds indirectly, or together with any direct holdings, not less than ten per cent. of the shares;
    • (ii) holds indirectly, or together with any direct holdings, not less than ten per cent. of the voting rights in the shares;
    • (iii) has right to receive or participate in not less than ten per cent. of the total distributable dividend, or any other distribution, in a financial year through indirect holdings alone, or together with any direct holdings;
    • (iv) has right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control, in any manner other than through direct holdings alone:

Explanation I: For the purpose of this clause, if an individual does not hold any right or entitlement indirectly under sub-clauses (i), (ii) or (iii), he shall not be considered to be a significant beneficial owner.

Explanation II: For the purpose of this clause, an individual shall be considered to hold a right or entitlement directly in the reporting company, if he satisfies any of the following criteria, namely.––

  • (i) the shares in the reporting company representing such right or entitlement are held in the name of the individual;
  • (ii) the individual holds or acquires a beneficial interest in the share of the reporting company under subsection (2) of section 89, and has made a declaration in this regard to the reporting company.

Explanation III: For the purpose of this clause, an individual shall be considered to hold a right or entitlement indirectly in the reporting company, if he satisfies any of the following criteria, in respect of a member of the reporting company, namely:-

  • (i) where the member of the reporting company is a body corporate (whether incorporated or registered in India or abroad), other than a limited liability partnership, and the individual,––
    • (a) holds majority stake in that member; or
    • (b) holds majority stake in the ultimate holding company (whether incorporated or registered in India or abroad) of that member;
  • (ii) where the member of the reporting company is a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) (through karta), and the individual is the karta of the HUF;
  • (iii) where the member of the reporting company is a partnership entity (through itself or a partner), and the individual,-
    • (a) is a partner; or
    • (b) holds majority stake in the body corporate which is a partner of the partnership entity; or
    • (c) holds majority stake in the ultimate holding company of the body corporate which is a partner of the partnership entity.
  • (iv) where the member of the reporting company is a trust (through trustee), and the individual,-
    • (a) is a trustee in case of a discretionary trust or a charitable trust;
    • (b) is a beneficiary in case of a specific trust;
    • (c) is the author or settlor in case of a revocable trust.
  • (v) where the member of the reporting company is,-
    • (a) a pooled investment vehicle; or
    • (b) an entity controlled by the pooled investment vehicle, based in member State of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering and the regulator of the securities market in such member State is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, and the individual in relation to the pooled investment vehicle,-
      • (A) is a general partner; or
      • (B) is an investment manager; or
      • (C) is a Chief Executive Officer where the investment manager of such pooled vehicle is a body corporate or a partnership entity.

Explanation IV: Where the member of a reporting company is,

  • (i) a pooled investment vehicle; or
  • (ii) an entity controlled by the pooled investment vehicle,

based in a jurisdiction which does not fulfil the requirements referred to in clause (v) of Explanation III, the provisions of clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) or clause (iv) of Explanation III, as the case may be, shall apply.

Explanation V: For the purpose of this clause, if any individual, or individuals acting through any person or trust, act with a common intent or purpose of exercising any rights or entitlements, or exercising control or significant influence, over a reporting company, pursuant to an agreement or understanding, formal or informal, such individual, or individuals, acting through any person or trust, as the case may be, shall be deemed to be ‘acting together’.

Explanation VI: For the purposes of this clause, the instruments in the form of global depository receipts, compulsorily convertible preference shares or compulsorily convertible debentures shall be treated as ‘shares’.

  • (i) “significant influence” means the power to participate, directly or indirectly, in the financial and operating policy decisions of the reporting company but is not control or joint control of those policies.

(2) Words and expressions used in these rules but not defined and defined in the Act or in Companies (Specification of Definitions Details) Rules, 2014 shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them in the Act and the said Rules.

Rule-2A: Duty of the reporting company

(1) Every reporting company shall take necessary steps to find out if there is any individual who is a significant beneficial owner, as defined in clause (h) of rule 2, in relation to that reporting company, and if so, identify him and cause such individual to make a declaration in Form No. BEN-1.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the steps stated in sub-rule (1), every reporting company shall in all cases where its member (other than an individual), holds not less than ten per cent. of its;-

  • (a) shares, or
  • (b) voting rights, or
  • (c) right to receive or participate in the dividend or any other distribution payable in a financial year,

give notice to such member, seeking information in accordance with sub-section (5) of section 90, in Form No. BEN-4.

Rule-3: Declaration of significant beneficial ownership under section 90

(1) On the date of commencement of the Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) Amendment Rules, 2019, every individual who is a significant beneficial owner in a reporting company, shall file a declaration in Form No. BEN-1 to the reporting company within ninety days from such commencement.

(2) Every individual, who subsequently becomes a significant beneficial owner, or where his significant beneficial ownership undergoes any change shall file a declaration in Form No. BEN-1 to the reporting company, within thirty days of acquiring such significant beneficial ownership or any change therein.

Explanation: Where an individual becomes a significant beneficial owner, or where his significant beneficial ownership undergoes any change, within ninety days of the commencement of the Companies (Significant Beneficial Owners) Amendment Rules, 2019, it shall be deemed that such individual became the significant beneficial owner or any change therein happened on the date of expiry of ninety days from the date of commencement of said rules, and the period of thirty days for filing will be reckoned accordingly.

Rule-4: Return of significant beneficial owners in shares

Upon receipt of declaration under rule 3, the reporting company shall file a return in Form No. BEN-2 with the Registrar in respect of such declaration, within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of such declaration by it, along with the fees as prescribed in Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Rules, 2014.

[The time limit for filing e-form BEN-2 is extended up to 31.03.2020 without payment of additional fee. – Circular No. 01/2020 dated 1-Jan-2020]

Rule-5: Register of significant beneficial owners

(1) The company shall maintain a register of significant beneficial owners in Form No. BEN-3.

(2) The register shall be open for inspection during business hours, at such reasonable time of not less than two hours, on every working day as the board may decide, by any member of the company on payment of such fee as may be specified by the company but not exceeding fifty rupees for each inspection.

Rule-6: Notice seeking information about significant beneficial owners

A company shall give notice seeking information in accordance with under sub-section (5) of section 90, in Form No. BEN-4.

Rule-7: Application to the Tribunal

The reporting company shall apply to the Tribunal, –

  • (i) where any person fails to give the information required by the notice in Form No. BEN-4, within the time specified therein; or
  • (ii) where the information given is not satisfactory,

in accordance with sub-section (7) of section 90, for order directing that the shares in question be subject to restrictions, including –

  • (a) restrictions on the transfer of interest attached to the shares in question;
  • (b) suspension of the right to receive dividend or any other distribution in relation to the shares in question;
  • (c) suspension of voting rights in relation to the shares in question;
  • (d) any other restriction on all or any of the rights attached with the shares in question.

Rule-8: Non-Applicability

These rules shall not be made applicable to the extent the share of the reporting company is held by,-

  • (a) the authority constituted under sub-section (5) of section 125 of the Act;
  • (b) its holding reporting company:

Provided that the details of such holding reporting company shall be reported in Form No. BEN-2.

  • (c) the Central Government, State Government or any local Authority;
  • (d) (i) a reporting company, or
    • (ii) a body corporate, or
    • (iii) an entity,

controlled by the Central Government or by any State Government or Governments, or partly by the Central Government and partly by one or more State Governments;

  • (e) Securities and Exchange Board of India registered Investment Vehicles such as mutual funds, alternative investment funds (AIF), Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Infrastructure Investment Trust (InVITs) regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India,
  • (f) Investment Vehicles regulated by Reserve Bank of India, or Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, or Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.


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