UK Leads The Way With New Public Register Of Ownership Of UK Companies

The Register of People with Significant Control Regulations 2016 fully come into force on 30 June 2016

29.06.2016

  • The Register is the start of new era of corporate transparency and aimed at
    tackling corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell Private Wealth say the new public register of ownership of UK companies introduced by The Register of People with Significant Control Regulations 2016 marks the start of a new era in corporate transparency.

From 30 June 2016, the UK will be the first G20 country to establish a publicly accessible register showing who really owns and controls UK companies - People with Significant Control (PSCs).  The publicly accessible register of PSCs will help authorities tackle corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.  

This information about PSCs must be filed annually at Companies House when a company makes its Confirmation Statement (the new form of annual return).  Anyone seeking to incorporate a new company will have to send a statement of initial significant control to Companies House, alongside the other documents required for incorporation.

In exceptional circumstances - where there is a serious risk of violence or intimidation - information relating to a PSC may be kept private but otherwise failure to comply with the regulations will be a criminal offence and restrictions may be placed on the shares or voting rights of the person or entity withholding information to ensure that they provide it.

Expert Opinion
“This new Register of People with Significant Control has been designed to open up a new era of corporate transparency. The UK is very much leading the way in this drive for increased transparency, as although other EU countries are required to introduce central registers of corporate beneficial owners by 2017, few have gone as far as the UK in making them publicly accessible and have restricted access to competent authorities and “persons who can demonstrate a legitimate interest” to access the information.”
Edward Stone, Partner

The Register of People with Significant Control Regulations – what you need to know

A person will be a Person of Significant Control if at least one of the following conditions is satisfied: 

  • They  directly or indirectly own more than 25% of the company’s shares; or
  • They  directly or indirectly hold more than 25% of the voting rights in the company; or
  • They  directly or indirectly have the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors of the company; or
  • They  have the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control; or
  • They have the right to exercise, or actually exercises significant influence or control over the activities of a trust or a firm which is not a legal entity, but would itself satisfy any of the other conditions if it were an individual.

What needs to be filed?

For each PSC the details to be registered include: 

  • name;
  • date of birth;
  • nationality;
  • country or state of usual residence;
  • residential address;
  • service address; 
  • date on which the person became a PSC; and
  • details of how the person qualifies as a PSC.