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Belgian Directorships Search

22 March 2022

Are you trying to identify the directorships in Belgium held by an individual? If so, you may have been disappointed to find out that the official Belgian corporate registry website (Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen - KBO) does not provide a directorship search function. Are Belgian directorship searches therefore not possible?

What information on directors is available in Belgium?

Let us start with what details for directors are provided by the official Belgian corporate registry database. Generally, only the following information is available directly from this source:

  • name of director (first name and surname)
  • role (e.g. Director, Manager etc.)
  • date of appointment

In other words, no information about previous directors is provided. Nor does the KBO website list dates of birth or residential addresses for the directors.

The dates of birth and residential addresses of directors are sometimes listed in the financial statements/annual reports filed by the companies with the Belgian National Bank, or are mentioned in filings published in the official Belgian Gazette. The Gazette announcements are also a valuable source to identify a company’s previous directors. Shareholding information is also sometimes available from this source or the financial statements.

What about “reverse” directorship searches by name of a director?

That leaves us with the initial question of how to conduct a Belgian directorship search to identify any directorships held by a person in Belgian companies. In short, this is possible, but not through the official database.

Maddocks Insight has developed proprietary technology that enables “reverse” searches of the corporate records to be carried out. If you are interested in conducting directorship checks, then please contact us and we’ll be able to provide further information on this service.

Why carry out a reverse directorship search in the first place?

There are many valid reasons for carrying out reverse directorship checks, such as part of an integrity due diligence project, investigative corporate intelligence, KYC assessment or similar, though the most important justifications are normally:

  • avoiding a conflict of interest
  • identification of poor financial performance and/or bankruptcy or insolvency

Avoiding conflicts of interest

A candidate being considered for a senior role or the director of an M&A target may have undeclared interests in another company that is a competitor to the hiring company or to the acquiring company. If this is the case, the candidate might not have the best interests of the hiring company or acquiring company in mind or at best might be “conflicted” about his allegiances. Similarly, it may turn out that a candidate’s spouse or child is affiliated with a competitor.

Identification of poor financial performance and/or bankruptcy or insolvency

The candidate may not have been truthful in disclosing his or her involvement as a director of another company insofar as that company may have faced financial difficulties and/or undergone bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings. While such involvement in itself does not always have to have a negative impact on the hiring decision, failure to disclose this information may well do.

In either scenario, a Belgian directorships search will be able to provide a fuller risk assessment.

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