On 4th November, Bihrer Attorneys at Law published an article saying that, on 1st November, the new Federal Act on the Implementation of Recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes came into force. The article points out that reporting duties for bearer shares were introduced in 2015, but that the new Act goes even further and, with a few exceptions, results in the complete abolition of bearer shares. The article sets out to provide a brief overview of the consequences of the new law and show the need for action that arises for companies and shareholders. Bearer shares are only permitted if the company has listed equity securities on a stock exchange or has structured bearer shares as book-entry securities. If a company wishes to retain existing bearer shares, it must fulfil one of these conditions within 18 months of the new law coming into force, i.e. by 30th April 2021, and arrange for an entry in the commercial register to be made stating which condition the company fulfils. All companies that do not meet these requirements must convert their bearer shares into registered shares by 30th April 2021, or else they will be converted by law on 1st May 2021.
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