Designated Non-Financial Businesses & Professionals FIU Registration Guide
This guide applies to reporting entities who are classified as a Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions (DNFPBs) as defined under Part 1 2. (1) of the Money Laundering & Terrorism (Prevention) (Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions) Regulations, 2014 read along with the Third Schedule of the Money Laundering & Terrorism (Prevention) Act (MLTPA) as revised 2020. These guidelines explain the registration requirements under the DNFBP Regulations, 2014.
How does application for registration work?
Effective February 7, 2014, all relevant businesses as defined in the DNFBP Regulations, 2014 are required to apply for registration with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) (See section 2.1). This means that it is illegal for such reporting entity to operate without being registered with the FIU and the entity is subject to criminal liability.
The applicant must provide information on all significant owners, partners, shareholders and directors in relation to the reporting entity. This means that a person, whether alone or acting together with one or more associates, must provide valid identifying information, as well as other specific business information, in an application form for registration with the FIU as follows:
- owns, whether legally or beneficially, 10% or greater interest in the reporting entity or its parent;
- has the power, directly or indirectly, to exercise or control 10% or more of the voting rights in the reporting entity, or its parent; or
- has the power to appoint or remove one or more directors of the reporting entity.
- The FIU may ask for clarification of information before accepting the registration. Once the FIU has accepted your registration, it is valid for a period of one year, at which time it must be renewed.
There is a non-refundable application fee of One Hundred dollars (BZD$100.00) for all applications. In addition to the application fee, upon acceptance of your application, an annual registration fee is payable to the FIU. (See regulation 21. (1) (c) and Registration fee schedule below)
Who Has To Apply For Registration?
In accordance with section 85B (1) of the MLTPA, a person who carries on, or intends to carry on, a relevant business in or from within Belize for which the FIU is specified as the supervisory authority under the Third Schedule of the MLTPA, shall apply for registration with the FIU for that type of relevant business as described below:
- Casinos, Gambling Houses, Internet Casino or Online Gaming
- Real estate agents – when they are involved in transactions for their client concerning the buying and selling of real estate.
- Dealers in precious metals and precious stones.
- Vehicle dealers.
- Lawyers, notaries, other independent legal professionals, accountants, auditors, and tax advisers, when they prepare for or carry out transactions for their client concerning the following activities:
- buying and selling of real estate;
- managing of client money, securities or other assets;
- management of bank, savings or securities accounts;
- organization of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies; or
- creation, operation or management of legal persons or arrangements and buying and selling of business entities.
- A business operating in a free zone area.
Who Are Not Deemed Fit and Proper To Apply For Registration?
The following individuals and entities are not eligible to register with the FIU:
Any person that is believed to:
- An individual or entity listed on the Belize Consolidated Sanctions List.
- have carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity; or
be controlled, directly or indirectly, by acting on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with any individual or entity conducting any of the above activities.
- An individual or entity convicted of, or is believed to have knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity, have knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of, or in association with such an individual or entity.
- An individual or entity convicted of a money laundering or a terrorist financing offence.
- Any of the applicant’s directors, partners, management, owners, or their associates, who have committed an offence which constitutes serious crime.
The Application For Registration Process
Effective February 7, 2014, if you intend to start a new business and you are classified as a DNFBP, you are required to be registered with the FIU within 14 days. Once registered, you are required to keep your registration information up-to-date. You must submit to the FIU within 14 days, any newly obtained registration information or any changes to your registration information.
- Completing and submitting the Application for Registration Form
- You must properly fill out the application for registration Form R101which is available on the FIU’s website at fiubelize.org.
Once you have completed the application for registration Form R101, keep a copy for your records and submit the completed form to the FIU along with the following:
- A copy of your deposit ticket showing the non-refundable application fee and initial registration fee. Payment can be deposited to Financial Intelligence Unit’s account #9131366 at any of your local Heritage Bank branches country wide.
- Copies of valid business license, trade license, dealer’s license, gaming license or other license to operate, where applicable
- Copy of certificate of incorporation or business name registration certificate, where applicable
- Copy of Articles of Incorporation/By-laws or Articles of Association (stamped & signed by the Belize Companies Registry) if entity is incorporated
- Copy of Detailed Extract if entity has been incorporated for more than 12 months
- Copy of valid identification (passport or social security card) for all applicant’s directors, MLCO, shareholders/beneficial owners
- Sector specific documents:
- Businesses Operating in a Free Zone – copy of Compliance Certificate, copy of operations contract (Fourth Schedule)
- Attorneys and Auditors – Copy of valid practicing certificate
- Vehicle Dealer – General Dealers’ License or Trade License
- Forward the properly completed, original registration Form R101 along with other required documents to firstname.lastname@example.org or deliver to:
Financial Intelligence Unit
Coney Drive Plaza
4998 Coney Drive
P.O. Box 2197
Belize City, Belize C.A.
- If you require further information or assistance, email email@example.com.
What Should I Expect After I Submit my Application?
The FIU will process your form within fourteen (14) business days and will do either of the following:
- issue a notice confirming that your application for registration has been accepted.
- request clarification of the information provided on your form or additional information; or
- deny the application for registration.
In each case, the FIU will notify you accordingly.
Confirmation of Application for Registration
Upon approval of registration, the FIU will provide you or your entity with a confirmation letter which will indicate the expiration date of your registration along with your registration number. The FIU will post your registration number on its public website. This includes information about your entity and your registration number.
The FIU can request clarification concerning the information you submitted about your business. Such clarification can be requested when:
- processing your application for initial registration
- after your application for registration has been approved
- During the renewal of registration information process [see below]
If the FIU requires clarifying information, you will receive a clarification request detailing what is required, and you are expected to respond within 15 business days and by providing us with the information requested.
Renewal of Registration Information
You are required to renew your registration information annually upon the anniversary of your registration. You may renew your registration with the FIU, 90 days prior to your registration annual anniversary by submitting a properly completed application for registration Form R101 to the FIU along with the following documents:
- a copy of your deposit ticket showing the renewal fee. Payment can be deposited to Financial Intelligence Unit’s account #9131366, at any of your local Heritage Bank branches country wide.
- copies of valid license: trade license, dealer’s license, gaming license or other license to operate, where applicable
- copy of recent certificate of good standing along with annual listing of shareholders and directors (if entity is incorporated.)
- copy of valid identification (passport or social security card) for all applicant’s directors, senior officers, MLCO, shareholders/beneficial owners.
Notification of Changes or Newly Obtained Information
Where there is new or changed information, you are required to complete registration form (R101) select option D – update registration information under Part I and provide a brief narrative to indicating the reason for the change:
- Any newly obtained registration information or any changes in directors, partners, shareholders, beneficial owner, MLCO, whether a director, or MLCO ceases to hold office or the appointment of a new director or MLCO; and
- Any change in its significant owners/beneficial owners, whether a person becomes a significant owner or ceases to be a significant owner.
You are required to forward the completed form to FIU within a 14-day period of changes made to registration information.
Cessation of Business Operations
Whether you are an individual, a corporation or other type of entity as defined under the DNFBP Regulations, 2014, if you at any time cease business operations, you are required to notify the FIU within fourteen 14 days after the day on which you cease business operations.
Any of the actions related to your registration or intended registration, as listed below, may lead to administrative sanctions against you in accordance with Section 17 of the MLTPA and the DNFBP Regulations:
- Knowingly making a false or misleading statement
- Knowingly providing false or misleading information to the FIU
- Failure to register your business with the FIU when required to do so
- Failure to submit information as required in the registration form
- Failure to submit any change in the information provided with your application for registration
- Failure to provide additional documents and information as required by the FIU to determine the application
- Failure to notify the FIU within 14 days of any change in—
- your directors, shareholders or MLCO
- significant owners (as defined in the DNFBP Regulations)
- information required to be registered under regulation 4 of the DNFBP Regulations,
- Failure to notify the FIU as required that you ceased your activities for which you are registered within 14 days after the day on which you cease business operations.
Notice: Providing false or misleading information, representation, or submitting any documents or return to the FIU is an offense under Regulation 22 of the MLTP DNFBP Regulations 2014. This offense is liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding $50,000, imprisonment for a term of up to 2 years, or both.
Failure to register when you are required to do so may lead to criminal liability. You may be liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than Ten Thousand dollars (BZ$10,000.00) and not more than Fifty Thousand dollars (BZ$50,000.00) or to imprisonment for a period of twelve (12) months or to both.
Under the DNFBP Regulations, the FIU may also impose an administrative penalty of not less than Five Thousand (BZ$5,000.00) and not more than Fifty Thousand (BZ$50,000.00) for carrying on a relevant business for which a person or entity is not registered.
Annual Registration fees
The following are the current fees in respect of the registration of DNFBPs:
|Nature of Business/DNFBPs
|Gambling houses and online gaming
|Real estate agents (when they engage in the buying
and selling of real estate on behalf of their clients
|Dealers in precious metals and precious stones
|Lawyers, notaries, other independent legal
professionals, accountants, auditors, tax advisors
|A business in a free zone area
Please note that the initial registration and application fee includes a $100.00 non-refundable fee.
Please make the payment of your application and registration fee to the account listed below:
Account: Financial Intelligence Unit
Bank: Heritage Bank
Account #: 9131366
You will also need to appoint a Money Laundering Compliance Officer for your entity. The attached Form (A-201) needs to be completed and submitted, along with the appointed compliance officer supporting documentation, for approval by the FIU. The individual you appoint will be responsible for the implementation of your compliance regime. Your compliance officer should be at the management level and have the authority and the resources necessary to discharge his or her responsibilities effectively. Depending on your type of business, your compliance officer should report, on a regular basis, to the board of directors or senior management, or to the owner or chief operator.
If you are a small business, the appointed officer could be a senior manager or the owner or operator of the business. When operating as a sole trader you are deemed the money laundering compliance officer, however, you may choose to appoint another individual to help you implement a compliance regime.
Note: The sole trader who is deemed the Money laundering Compliance Officer is ultimately responsible for the implementation of a compliance regime of the entity.
In the case of a large business, the compliance officer should be from a senior level and have direct access to senior management and the board of directors. Further, as a good governance practice, the appointed compliance officer in a large business should not be directly involved in the receipt, transfer or payment of funds.
For consistency and ongoing attention to the compliance regime, your appointed compliance officer may choose to delegate certain duties to other employees. For example, the officer may delegate an individual in a local office or branch to ensure that compliance procedures are properly implemented at that location. However, where such a delegation is made, the compliance officer retains responsibility for the implementation of the compliance regime and is the direct liaison with FIU.
How To Contact The FIU
For further information regarding the registration process and other obligations for reporting entities, please visit the FIU’s website www.fiubelize.org or contact us:
Financial Intelligence Unit
Coney Drive Plaza
4998 Coney Drive
P.O. Box 2197
Belize City, Belize