27th November 2023
“The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act, which received Royal Ascent on 26 October 2023, includes some of the most significant changes to Companies House since it was created in 1844. Businesses which have a UK footprint, will need to review these changes carefully and act accordingly.”
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (the Act) received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023. This act includes significant changes to the UK’s company registry in over 170 years.
The transparency reforms will mean individual directors and persons with significant control (PSCs) of UK companies, and overseas companies that have a registered UK branch/establishment) will be required to verify their identities by providing photographic ID to Companies House. Some examples are as follows:
All entities on Companies House will have at least one fully verified natural person directly associated with such entity which is available in the public domain/on the public register to increase transparency.
For directors: To register an individual director’s appointment at Companies House, such individual will be required to have an account with Companies House where their identification has been verified.
For PSCs: These can be registered without the individual having a verified account, however, such individual will be flagged as not verified until the relevant PSC has verified their identification with Companies House. Should the PSC fail to complete their verification, they will have committed a criminal offence and may be liable to a civil penalty.
This requirement for identity verification will apply to existing and new appointments. We are awaiting publication of the transitional period that verification will take place along with details of the verification process.
Only (1) “authorised corporate service providers” or ACSPs (e.g. solicitors’ firms and/or individual or firms who are supervised for money laundering legislation), and (ii) individuals who have had their identity verified, will be authorised by Companies House to make such filings.
The above are quite significant changes to UK company registers (and please note the above is not exhaustive) and will affect all such companies/branches registered at Companies House. We are awaiting implementation of the Act by Companies House and businesses should liaise with their corporate solicitors, advisers and/or corporate secretary for further assistance in this area.