The traditional role of the Registrar of Companies as custodian and keeper of Company Records and information has been in place since 1844.
Over the years there have been many changes to the business environment, and this has necessitated the Registrar of Companies to revisit its role with the aim of keeping up to date with changes, the main aim being to keep driving confidence in the UK economy.
The Registrar aims at Corporate Transparency and Register Reform vision in order to achieve:
- More reliably accurate information on the companies register, reinforced by identity verification;
- Effective protection of personal data;
- High compliance rates backed by an effective and respected investigation and enforcement regime;
- The removal of technological and legal barriers to allow enhanced cross checks on corporate data with public and private sector bodies;
- Continued investment in technology and the skills of Companies House staff to make the register more efficient, effective and resilient;
- Broader reforms to clamp down on misuse of corporate entities.
With these aims in place, the registrar has put forward proposals to:
1. Ban corporate directors, with exemptions
There will be further announcements on timing and scope when available.
2. 5th Anti Money Laundering directive
The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations came into force on 10 January 2020, implementing the EU directive.
3. Proposed Register of Overseas Entities Beneficial Ownership
This aims at increasing transparency and trust in the UK property market and support law enforcement in investigations. The aim is to tackle concerns about ownership of land in the UK by Overseas entities.
4. Reform of Limited Partnerships
There are proposals to require Limited Partnerships to be formed via third party agents.
Limited Partnerships would be required to have a presence in the UK.
There are proposals for a requirement for Limited Partnerships to file confirmation statements. Draft legislation will be introduced to Parliament when time allows.
5. Corporate transparency and Register reform
The consultation proposes:
- Measures to enhance knowledge of who owns and controls companies;
- Measures to protect personal data;
- Measures to ensure the accuracy of and usability of Register information;
- Measures to prevent the misuse of corporate entities.
6. Knowing who is forming, owning and controlling companies
The Registrar proposes to have ID verification of presenters, directors, shareholders, PSC’s and third-party agents.
The potential reforms would amount to the biggest changes to the UK system for setting up and operating companies since the UK company register was created in 1844. They will play an important part in safeguarding the reputation of the UK’s business environment and contribute to the UK’s Industrial Strategy.