Details of owners / controllers UK companies to be made public
David Cameron has announced that details of who really owns and controls UK companies are to be made publicly accessible.
A new registry will contain information on individuals with an interest in more than 25% of a company’s shares or voting rights, or who otherwise control the way it is run.
The registry will probably be based on the disclosure regime that currently applies to information on company shareholders, with Companies House holding, and make publicly accessible, the names of the beneficial owners and details of their interest in the company.
Limited exemptions from public disclosure will be permitted – for example, in cases where it’s necessary to protect individuals whose safety might be put at risk.
Separately, the BIS has announced plans on other proposals in this area including:
- to abolish bearer shares – i.e. shares whose ownership is completely opaque
- to tackle the use of corporate directors – one company as a director of another
- to address situations where a front director is registered at Companies House, but the control lies concealed elsewhere
Commenting, Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: “A stronger economy depends on investors, employees and the wider public having trust and confidence in companies and those that are running them.
“We believe a public register, listing those who really own companies makes Britain a better place to invest and do business. People have a right to know who controls UK companies and greater openness will help tackle tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes.”