From today (30 June 2016) companies will have to declare who owns or controls them to Companies House.
The People with Significant Control (PSC) register 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.
From 30 June 2016, UK companies (except listed companies) and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) need to declare this information when issuing their annual confirmation statement to Companies House.
A person of significant control is 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 of people with significant control, which is free to access.
The Prime Minister 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.
Some of the features of the company structure which make it good for business also make it attractive to criminals. 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.
Information about the ownership and control of UK corporate entities will bring benefits for law enforcement, business, civil society and citizens. By making this information publicly available, free of charge, the government is setting a standard that we are persuading other countries to follow.