Government Creates Plans For Companies House Reform In Response To Events In Ukraine
As the world reacts to the events in Ukraine, the UK Government is looking at ways to reform its systems to effectively sanction Russian oligarchs. The Government released a white paper on its planned reforms in February which includes many substantial steps towards a Companies House reform.
The new role of Companies House
The Companies House reform would involve the Registrar moving from a passive administrator of company information to a much more active gatekeeper over company creation and custodian of more reliable information on the register.
The Registrar will be given new powers to query information provided to it and to review all companies’ previous filing history. This will mean that the Registrar will no longer be obliged to accept documents that are delivered where there is a reason to query the information provided.
The government has detailed plans to require all individuals listed below to complete mandatory identification checks:
- All new and existing directors.
- Members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).
- Persons of significant control over a company (including those owning more than 25% of a company’s shares).
- Any person who submits filings for a company.
These checks will be completed in line with current standard practices in the private sector (i.e. via electronic verification). The government has currently proposed a grace period of 6 months for the identification process to be completed. However, this has already been reduced from 18 months and may be reduced again to ensure that those using the register for corrupt gain will not be able to transfer their assets out before the changes come into force. Any of the above who have not registered by the end of the grace period will be committing an offence and may also be liable for a civil penalty.
The subject of a Companies House reform is rapidly developing, and will likely change as the bill is brought into law but this is an early look at the intentions of the government to react to the events in Ukraine.
We will be keeping abreast of developments but you can find further information on plans for the Companies House reform here:
If you require any assistance or advice on limited companies or LLPs, please get in touch with James Peterson (one of our specialist company commercial solicitors) by calling 01752 203500 or email directly via james.peterson@GAsolicitors.com