This week, BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) published a consultation on substantial new proposals to reform Companies House with the aim of increasing the transparency of UK corporate entities.
The proposed reforms aim to improve the accuracy of the information on the companies register and to strengthen the UK's ability to combat economic crime. The Government is consulting on a wide range of measures which, if implemented, would see significant changes to company law and the operation of Companies House which are likely to impact existing and new businesses.
The proposals include:
- Undertaking significant reforms to the UK's company registration framework.
- Introducing checks to verify the identity of individuals who have a key role in companies (e.g. directors, PSCs and those filing information on behalf of companies).
- Disclosing more information about shareholders as well as possible shareholder identity verification.
- Improving the accuracy and usability of data on Companies House by extending the powers of Companies House to query and seek corroboration of information before it is entered onto the public register and making it easier to remove inaccurate information from the register.
- Improvements to the process and delivery of annual accounts to Companies House.
- Improvements to the quality of information about PSCs.
- Improving the data held on Companies House by cross-checking information with data held by other government and private sector bodies.
- Measures to deter abuse of corporate entities by limiting the number of directorships any one individual can hold, requiring companies to disclose banking information and taking action to deter misuse of company names and addresses.
- Changes to systems, processes and staffing at Companies House and a potential increase to Companies House charges.
BEIS are seeking the views of company directors (and officers of other corporate entities), company shareholders, the investor community, business representative bodies, trust and company service providers and other professional bodies, wider civil society groups, academics and think tanks and members of the public generally.
The closing date for responses to the consultation is 5 August 2019.
Original Government press release: Businesses and consumers to be given increased protections from criminal activity.