On May 5 2019, the government published its consultation on corporate transparency and register reform. The new proposals will introduce significant changes to the way in which Companies House operates.
If adopted, these changes are likely to mean that tasks which were previously relatively straightforward, such as notifying Companies House of the appointment of new directors, will become subject to greater scrutiny. It has been claimed that, if implemented, the proposals would represent the biggest changes to the Register of Companies since its inception in 1844.
The consultation is split into four main themes:
1) Knowing who’s setting up, managing and controlling companies
It is proposed that directors, people with significant control (PSCs), and those filing information should have their identity verified. It is also being considered whether more information should be disclosed about shareholders.
2) Improving the accuracy and usability of data
Companies House state that proposals will result in better quality information on the register. Proposals include extending the powers of Companies House to query information before its entered on the register and making it easier to remove inaccurate information.
3) Protecting personal information
The proposals will allow Companies House to change the way they store and control access to personal information. Companies House state that access to the register will be carefully managed, allowing only identified or authorised people to file information. Sensitive information will also be better protected.
4) Improving the detection of possible criminal behaviour
Companies House state that they will be able to improve the cross-checking of their data against data held by other organisations. Companies House are seeking to see the exchange of intelligence made easier so that they can quickly identify possible criminal behaviour.
Clearly, the proposals are intended to tackle financial crime and to improve the legitimacy and accuracy of Companies House information. It will be interesting to see how the government proceed following the end of the consultation, on 5 August 2019 – we will be sure to keep you updated.
Posted on June 20, 2019