The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

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UK Company Law is transforming!

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill has officially become law, marking a pivotal moment for Companies House. As the Chief Executive and Registrar of Companies, Louise Smyth, highlights here, these changes empower Companies House to play a more significant role in combatting economic crime whilst also supporting business growth.

The Aim:

The aim of the Legislation is to ensure cleaner registers and enhanced transparency.

Key Highlights Include:

  • Mandatory identity verification for company directors and key personnel
  • Expanded powers for Companies House to ensure data reliability
  • Enhanced financial information to be included on the register for informed business decisions
  • Strengthened investigation and enforcement capabilities

In addition, Louise Smyth has introduced 4 new objectives to guide Companies House:

  1. Ensure timely document delivery to the registrar
  2. Maintain accurate register information
  3. Prevent false or misleading impressions in public records
  4. Safeguard against unlawful activities by companies

What to expect next?

Some changes, such as identity verification, will not be introduced immediately. Other measures will come into force sooner, in early 2024.

These early measures include:

  • Stronger checks on company names.
  • Improved query powers and checks on registered office addresses
  • Increased scrutiny and rejection of inconsistent information
  • Additional steps to clean up the register with data matching
  • Sharing data with government departments and law enforcement agencies

Early 2024 will also see an increase in Companies House fees. These fees are however expected to remain some of the lowest in the world, even after the increase.

These are exciting times for the UK business landscape. These adjustments, guided by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, will position us for a stronger, more resilient business ecosystem; and if embraced, a more transparent, reliable, and secure business environment.

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