Consultation on Sweeping New Powers for Companies House

The government has launched a consultation on the most significant reform of Companies House since its establishment in 1844.

The government has launched a consultation on the most significant reform of Companies House since its establishment in 1844.

The consultation, which is open until 5 August 2019, aims to strengthen the role of Companies House in supporting UK efforts to combat economic crime whilst maintaining the UK's reputation as the best place to start and grow a business.

A number of reforms are envisaged including:

  • Verification of the identity of individuals who have a key role in companies, such as directors, Persons with Significant Control and those filing information for the company, during the incorporation and filing processes.
  • Improving the accuracy and usability of data on the register by extending the power of Companies House to verify and investigate data entered on the register and enabling it to remove inaccurate information; investment in technology and training to make the register more efficient, effective and resilient.
  • Effective protection of personal data.
  • Ensuring compliance, sharing intelligence and other measures to deter abuse of corporate entities through crosschecks against data held by other government and private sector bodies.

Third party agents acting for companies are already required by the Money Laundering Regulations to carry out customer due diligence checks on their customers, which includes verifying their identity. The government is not proposing to duplicate these checks and is likely to focus its attention on incorporations and filings from individuals and those not supervised by official money laundering bodies.

Louise Smyth, Chief Executive of Companies House, said:

'This package of reforms represents a significant milestone for Companies House, as they will enable us to play a greater part in tackling economic crime, protecting directors from identity theft and fraud and improving the accuracy of the register.'

For more information on how this might affect your business, please contact:

Carolyn Arlett
Company Secretary
Tel: +44 (0)7587 031073
carlett@fitzandlaw.com

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