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BIS publishes public central register discussion paper

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29 Oct 2014

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a discussion paper (“the discussion paper”) seeking views on how to implement new requirements around recording company beneficial ownership information within a publicly accessible central register. BIS also seeks views as to what guidance will be required to help companies and others understand and comply with the new requirements. Responses are requested by 9 December 2014.

In July 2013 (link to BIS website), BIS published proposals aimed at enhancing the transparency of UK company ownership and increasing trust in UK business.  Following a period of consultation, updated proposals were published in April 2014 and included a proposal for UK companies to keep a register (a ‘Person with significant control (PSC) register’) of people with significant control over the company and file this at Companies House. 

In June 2014, the proposals were taken forward and the requirement for a PSC Register were included within Part 7 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is currently before Parliament.  The PSC Register is seen as central to the government’s proposed reforms to increase transparency of company ownership and control.

Aside from seeking views on guidance to aid companies with understanding the new requirements (including the identification of who owns and controls them, which BIS highlight will be straightforward “for the vast majority of companies”), the discussion paper is also seeking views on:

  • the degree of detail about the nature of a person’s control over a company that should be on the register; and
  • the way in which details around certain pieces of information might be protected from public disclosure.

Further details and the full discussion paper can be found on the BIS website.

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