New Companies House powers

The recently introduced Economic Crime and Transparency Act has gifted Companies House a range of new powers aimed at reducing exploitation by corporate entities to pursue illegal enterprise.

The aim of the new reforms are:

  • Introducing identity verification for all new and existing registered company directors, People with Significant Control, and those delivering documents to the Registrar. This will improve the accuracy of Companies House data, to support business decisions and law enforcement investigations.
  • Broadening the Registrar of Companies House’s powers so that the Registrar can become a more active gatekeeper over company creation and custodian of more reliable data, including new powers to check, remove or decline information submitted to, or already on, the companies register.
  • Improving the financial information on the register so that the register is more reliable, complete and accurate, reflects the latest advancements in digital technology, and enables better business decisions.
  • Providing Companies House with more effective investigation and enforcement powers and introducing better cross-checking of data with other public and private sector bodies. Companies House will be able to proactively share information with law enforcement bodies where they have evidence of anomalous filings or suspicious behaviour.
  • Enhancing the protection of personal information provided to Companies House to protect individuals from fraud and other harms.
  • Broader reforms to clamp down on misuse of corporate entities.

In addition to the above, the bill will:

  • enable businesses in certain situations to share information more easily for the purposes of preventing, investigating or detecting economic crime by disapplying civil liability for breaches of confidentiality for firms who share information to combat economic crime;
  • enable proactive intelligence gathering by law enforcement and strengthening the National Crime Agency’s Financial Intelligence Unit’s (FIU) ability to obtain information from businesses relating to money laundering and terrorist financing by removing the requirement for a pre-existing Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) to have been submitted before an Information Order (IO) can be made; and
  • focus private sector and law enforcement resources on high value activity, reducing the reporting burden on businesses and enabling greater prioritisation of law enforcement resource by expanding the types of case in which businesses can deal with clients’ property without having to first submit a Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML) SAR.

As more information on the detail of how these changes will impact SMEs, we will post further updates on this newsfeed.

Source:Other | 06-05-2024

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