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On the horizon: Reforming Formation and Information at Companies House

On the horizon: Reforming Formation and Information at Companies House

  • United Kingdom
  • Corporate
  • Corporate secretarial services


On 5 May 2019, BEIS launched a consultation on proposals to help combat economic crime through the increased transparency of UK corporate entities and Companies House reform. The consultation seeks views on a series of reforms to limit the risk of misuse of information on the register, and to ensure its accuracy and usefulness. The proposed reforms are set out in four main parts as summarised below.

knowing who is setting up, managing and controlling companies: Includes proposals that individuals who have a key role in companies should have their identity verified. This would include directors and PSCs and the Government is considering whether it should apply to all shareholders

improving the accuracy and usability of data on the register: The proposals are two way here; allowing Companies House to query and corroborate information before it is entered on the register and making it easier and quicker to remove inaccurate information

protecting personal information on the register: It is recognised that how personal information is stored and access to it controlled is important; there will be potentially more of this information held at Companies House if the proposals are adopted and access to it will be subject to stricter controls

ensuring compliance, sharing intelligence, and other measures to deter abuse of corporate entities: The Government wants to see the exchange of intelligence made easier between other Government and private sector bodies in order to identify possible criminal behaviour. The proposals, they believe, will lead to faster identification of anomalies between data at Companies House and elsewhere. There are also a selection of additional proposals to deter abuse of corporate entities including deterring the misuse of company names and/or addresses, limiting concurrent directorships, using powers to end the business activities of limited partnerships that are being misused and considering changing the “Certificate of good standing” product currently available from Companies House as it provides a confirmation that is not the same as in other jurisdictions (and is therefore potentially misleading).

What next

As noted in the consultation, the proposals, if all implemented, would amount to the most significant reform of the UK’s company registration framework since a register was first introduced in 1844. We, will be following the consultation to be prepared for system changes and/or revised requirements, in order to make any transition as smooth as possible.

Most of the measures would need primary legislation to be enacted, as well as significant changes to systems, processes and staffing at Companies House, so changes are likely to be introduced over a period of time. With appropriate planning, there should not be any significant disruption to your businesses.

To access BEIS’s consultation page click here (consultation closes on 5 August 2019).

For more information contact

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