Companies must now declare who owns or controls them

The regulation obliging companies to declare to Companies House who owns or controls them has now come into force.

The People with Significant Control register became operative on 30 June 2016. It includes information about the individuals who own or control companies including their name, month and year of birth, nationality, and details of their interest in the company.

A person of significant control is defined as someone that holds more than 25% of shares or voting rights in a company, has the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors or otherwise exercises significant influence or control. This information will form a central public register, which is free to access.

A government statement said the former Prime Minister David Cameron first put corporate transparency on the international agenda when he chaired the G8 summit in Lough Erne and secured commitment to action. The commitment to enhance corporate transparency in the UK was reaffirmed at London’s International Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016.

“Since then the EU and G20 countries have also agreed to act. The UK is the first country in the G20 to create a public register of this kind.

“The UK has high standards of business behaviour and corporate governance. The overwhelming majority of UK companies contribute productively to the UK economy, abide by the law and make a valuable contribution to society. But there are exceptions.

“Companies can be misused to facilitate a range of criminal activities – from money laundering to tax evasion, corruption to terrorist financing. Sometimes those individuals running companies will not conduct themselves in accordance with the high standards we expect in the UK, posing a risk to other companies and consumers alike.”

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