Report a discrepancy about a beneficial owner on the PSC register by an obliged entity

How to tell Companies House if the information you hold, as an obliged entity, about a beneficial owner is different from the information on the people with significant control (PSC) register.

On 10 January 2020, the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5MLD) came into force in the UK through the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019.

This means that obliged entities must tell Companies House if there’s a discrepancy between the information that they hold about a beneficial owner of a company, limited liability partnership, or Scottish limited or qualifying partnership and the information that’s on the public people with significant control (PSC) register.

A beneficial owner does not have the same definition as a PSC. The requirement to report discrepancies is based on the Companies Act definition of a PSC.

What an obliged entity is

Obliged entities include:

  • credit institutions
  • financial institutions
  • auditors, insolvency practitioners, external accountants and tax advisors
  • notaries and other independent legal professionals
  • trust or company service providers
  • estate agents, including when acting as intermediaries
  • other persons trading goods in cash amounting to 10,000 euros or more
  • gambling services
  • exchange services between virtual and fiat currencies
  • custodian wallet providers
  • art dealers in galleries and auction houses
  • art dealers in free ports

What a discrepancy is

The purpose behind discrepancy reporting is to ensure that the information on the PSC register is adequate, accurate and current. ‘Discrepancy’ is not defined in 5MLD, but the UK government’s interpretation of the intention is for material differences to be reported.

A discrepancy exists when the relevant entity has information that clearly indicates that the PSC information recorded by Companies House is inaccurate. The focus is on clear factual errors, not typing mistakes.

This could include a discrepancy with a:

  • person listed as a PSC
  • missing PSC
  • PSC exemption
  • PSC type
  • address
  • place of registration
  • date of birth
  • legal form
  • company statement

It is not a discrepancy when the relevant entity holds information that goes beyond (or is of a different nature from) that required for the PSC register.

For example, a spelling error would not be considered a material discrepancy, such as Jon Smith instead of John Smith. In this instance, obliged entities should encourage the company to contact us to resolve the discrepancy.

Information about PSCs on the Companies House register

Individual registrable person

Information about an individual registrable person includes:

  • their name
  • their service address
  • the part of the UK (or country or state) where they usually live
  • their nationality
  • their day and month of birth
  • the date that they became a registrable person for the company
  • the nature of control over the company
  • any restrictions regarding the disclosure of their identity as a PSC

Information about a registrable RLE includes:

  • a corporate or firm name
  • a registered or principal office
  • legal form and the law by which it is governed
  • the register of companies in which it is entered (including details of the state) and its registration number
  • the date that it became the company’s RLE
  • its nature of control over the company

Other registrable person (ORP)

Information about an ORP, such as a local authority or corporate sole, includes:

  • a name
  • a principal office
  • a legal form and the law by which it is governed
  • the date that they became a registrable person for the company
  • the nature of control over the company

When to make a discrepancy report

A report is required if a discrepancy is found when a new business relationship is being set up between an obliged entity and a customer as from 10 January 2020.

Obliged entities should report a discrepancy as soon as reasonably possible. This means that bulk reporting on a periodic basis is not permitted. This would delay updates to the register, meaning that the data on the PSC register is not as up to date as it should be (which is the purpose of this measure).

A discrepancy report is not a substitute for a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR). The requirement to submit a SAR where appropriate continues.

Make a report

This reporting tool is UK based. The information submitted will be securely stored and then deleted once it has been loaded onto Companies House systems.

Information to include in the discrepancy report

When making a report, obliged entities should include the:

  • name and type of business of the obliged entity making the report
  • date when the discrepancy was first noticed
  • full name, email address and contact telephone number of the person making the report
  • business address of the obliged entity making the report
  • company name and number of the entity being reported as having a discrepancy
  • the type of discrepancy - for example if it relates to a person, an RLE, a statement or a missing PSC
  • details of the discrepancy - such as an incorrect address or an invalid PSC statement

After the report is received by Companies House

We will investigate the discrepancy. If it is valid, we’ll contact the company to ask for their comments and request that they resolve the discrepancy to make sure the PSC register is up to date.

The company will not be informed that a discrepancy report has been made about their PSC register information. We will tell the obliged entity the outcome of our investigation.

Published 10 January 2020