Wednesday, 23 April 2014

UK: Transparency and trust consultation - Government response published

The Government has published the actions it proposes to take following consultation on its transparency and trust discussion paper: see here (pdf). The proposals include the creation of a registry of company beneficial ownership information, supported by a new obligation on all companies to identify significant beneficial owners (those with shares, or voting rights, providing an interest greater than 25%). The register will be held at Companies House and will be publicly available. All companies, on incorporation, will be required to provide an initial statement of beneficial ownership.

Other proposals include the prohibition of bearer shares and, subject to certain exemptions, prohibiting corporate directors (i.e., companies acting as directors). Other proposals relate to directors' duties, directors' disqualification and the information received by new directors on appointment. The Government's response states, for example, that there is a case for making it explicit in legislation that the general statutory duties of directors apply to shadow directors. Replacing Schedule 1 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 with a broader and more generic statement of factors relevant to determining unfitness is also proposed.

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