The UK government has published a response paper largely in agreement with the controversial “Transparency & Trust” discussion paper published by its Business, Innovation and Skills Department in July 2013.
The chief tenet of the response paper is that the transparency of UK company ownership should be increased through the introduction of a central registry of company beneficial ownership. Under the proposed new rules, companies would be required to obtain and maintain details of their beneficial owners and provide this information to the registrar of companies. Except for residential addresses, this information will be available to the public. A beneficial owner will be defined as any person who ultimately holds at least 25 percent of a company’s shares or voting rights or who otherwise exercises control over the management of a company.
Other significant proposals in the paper include a ban on corporate directors (with certain exceptions) and a tightening of the directors’ disqualification regime.
The government intends to introduce and implement the necessary legislation as soon as it is feasible. Government Paper.