From today (6 April 2016) companies will have to hold a register of People with Significant Control (PSC).
The PSC register will include 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) will need to declare this information when issuing their annual statement to Companies House.
Department for Business Minister, Baroness Neville Rolfe said:
Companies that disguise who owns or controls them are not playing by the rules and have something to hide. This register, the first of its kind in the world, will help tackle abuse of corporate entities. This is part of our commitment to creating an environment of trust and accountability for business.
A person of significant control is someone that holds more than 25% of shares or voting rights in a company, or who has the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors.
The Prime Minister put corporate transparency on the international agenda when he chaired the G8 summit in Lough Erne and secured commitment to action. Since then the EU and G20 countries have also agreed to act. The UK is the first country 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.