New Finnish Foundations Act improves transparency in foundations’ operations

The new Foundations Act entered into force on 1 December 2015 and replaced the previous act from 1930. The Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) manages the Register of Foundations and is responsible for the supervision of foundations. It ensures that foundations comply with Finnish law and their own by-laws. Our office provides comprehensive details of registered foundations and of their by-laws, financial statements, and other documents submitted through notifications and applications to our office.

We have made preparations for the new act by reorganising our operations, revamping the Register of Foundations system, and by updating our website.

What will change?

Under the new act, you no longer have to apply for permission from the PRH to establish or terminate a foundation.

The new act is more detailed than the previous act and includes a number of new details that have to be registered with our office, such as the financial period, auditors, supervisory board and managing director of foundations.

Our supervisory measures will not change under the new act. The following rights and obligations have however been extended: the reporting obligation of foundations and their auditors, and our office’s right to obtain information from foundations. We will continue to carry out supervision mainly as subsequent control of legality (ex post facto).

The new act also enables us to deregister inactive foundations, which makes the register more up-to-date.

What is a foundation?

A foundation is set up to manage property donated for a particular useful, beneficial purpose. The purpose is determined when the foundation is set up. Foundations provide funding for science, art and culture, and produce wellbeing services. Foundations have neither owners, shareholders nor members. Registered foundations are legal persons. The foundation’s management must carefully further the foundation’s purpose and promote its interests.

The Finnish Register of Foundations contains 2,830 foundations. You can search for foundation details in our Virre Information Service.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Terhi Maijala
Head of Law and Supervision
Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)
Tel. +358 29 509 5300

Mr Lalli Knuutila
Head of Registration
Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)
Tel. +358 29 509 5018

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Latest update 07.12.2015