Management Board Members Must Submit a Certificate of Good Conduct for Official Purposes

Depending on their nationality and place of residence, management board members must submit the original copy of a “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority (certificate of good conduct for official purposes)” (document type “O”) issued by the Federal Office of Justice (Bundesamt für Justiz – BfJ). This document is issued in accordance with section 30 (5) of the German Federal Central Register Act (Bundeszentralregistergesetz – BZRG). Alternatively, it could be a “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” in accordance with sections 30 (5) and 30b of the BZRG or certificates of good conduct equivalent to those named above, or certifications of reputation assessments performed by supervisory authorities in the country of residence after consultation with the relevant division of BaFin (“equivalent documents”).

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin) provides information on what certificate is used to establish a bank management board member’s reputation rating in its Guidance Notice on management board members. This is pursuant to the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG), the German Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG) and the German Capital Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch – KAGB).

Management board members who have resided in different countries in the previous ten years must submit certificates of good conduct and relevant documents from each country. The relevant division of BaFin has to be provided with detailed information regarding any legal obstacles to their furnishment. If the relevant documents are already available, they have to be submitted to BaFin together with the other documents to be appended to the notification of intent. However, subsequent submission is also possible.

In countries in which certificates of good conduct are issued by a public agency, other documents may not be used as a substitute. The “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” should not be confused with the “extended certificate of good conduct” referred to in section 30a of the BZRG.

Section 30a of the BZRG determines the following: An extended certificate of good conduct is issued to a person on request, if the grant is provided for in statutory provisions with reference to this provision or if this certificate of good conduct is required for professional or voluntary supervision, care, education or training of minors or an activity which, in a manner comparable to letter a, is suitable for making contact with minors. Anyone who applies for an extended certificate of good conduct must submit a written request in which the person who requests the extended certificate of good conduct from the applicant confirms that the requirements are met.

Every person who has reached the age of 14 is given a certificate on the contents of the register concerning them on request (certificate of good conduct). If they have legal representation, this is also entitled to apply. The application must be submitted in writing to the registration authority in person or with an officially or publicly certified signature. When submitting the application, the identity and, in the case of legal representation, the power of representation must be proven. The applicant and their legal representative cannot be represented by an authorized representative when submitting the application. The registration authority receives the fee for the certificate of good conduct, keeps two fifths of it and pays the remaining amount to the federal treasury.

If the person making the application lives outside Germany, they can submit the application directly to the registry authority. Sending the certificate of good conduct is only permitted to the applicant. If the certificate of good conduct is requested to be presented to an authority, it must be sent to the authority immediately. The authority must allow the applicant to inspect the certificate of good conduct upon request. The applicant can demand that the certificate of good conduct, if it contains entries, is first sent to a local court designated by him for inspection by him. The registration authority must inform the applicant of this possibility in the cases in which the application is submitted to them. The district court may only grant the applicant person access to it personally. After inspection, the certificate of good conduct is to be forwarded to the authority or, if the applicant objects, to be destroyed by the local court. A foreign applicant can demand that the certificate of good conduct, if it contains entries, is first sent to an official representation of the Federal Republic of Germany designated by him for inspection.

The management board member must submit a request for a “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” and a “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” to his or her local registration office (Meldebehörde) (section 30 (2) sentence 1 of the BZRG) or electronically to the Federal Office of Justice (section 30c of the BZRG). German nationals who reside outside the Federal Republic of Germany may apply directly to the Federal Office of Justice as the registration authority (section 30 (3) sentence 1 of the BZRG).

To allow BaFin to allocate the certificates of good conduct which it receives to the undertaking to which the relevant management board member is to be appointed, the name of the notifying undertaking and the BAK number have to be indicated as the reference. The BAK number is a six-digit number which BaFin assigns to each institution for internal classification purposes. It forms part of the BaFin reference number under which correspondence with an institution is registered and is listed in BaFin’s database of undertakings as the “ID”. BaFin is responsible for issuing and publishing a BAK number. The BAK number of an institute can be found on the website of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (www.bafin.de).

The certificate of good conduct for official purposes must be up-to-date, i.e. at the time of notification of intent it may not be more than three months old. The date of the document’s issue will be key for this purpose.

In the event that a certificate of good conduct is to be used within BaFin for further checks as to the reputation of a person, this document may not be more than twelve months old. The Federal Office of Justice will send both the “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” and the “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” directly to BaFin. There is no need to request additional copies for the Deutsche Bundesbank or the auditing association, in the case of credit institutions that are members of one.

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