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Approach taken by registries to obtain beneficial owner information jo jones

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  • 1. making limited liability work“ ”
  • 2. Beneficial Ownership Information in the UK Jo Jones United Kingdom
  • 3. Background: the beginning Companies should know who really owns them and tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily G8 Lough Erne Declaration 18 June 2013  Commitment by G8 leaders to reforms to ensure we know who really owns and controls companies  Requiring companies to obtain and hold information on their beneficial ownership, and for the UK  Setting up a Central Registry of that information at Companies House
  • 4. Background: first steps  July 2013 Discussion paper to gather views from interested parties followed by engagement with stakeholder groups  October 2013 Announcement that information in the registry would be publicly accessible: tackling company misuse and promoting good corporate behaviour  March 2014 Government response
  • 5. Why a Central Registry?  To supplement, not replace, measures to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism  To enable the UK to deliver on action plan commitments  Ensuring access to information – Direct access for overseas authorities – A one stop shop for law enforcement and tax authorities  Access without the company being aware
  • 6. Why Public?  The best way to meet the UK’s objectives of – Tackling the misuse of companies – Promoting good corporate behaviour  Public access gives the quickest access  To ensure accuracy – Provides a check on companies – and an additional check on service providers  Confidential information will remain confidential
  • 7. What will the Registry hold? Beneficial owners: Individuals with an interest in more than 25% of a company’s shares or voting rights, or who otherwise control how it’s run  Information collected to be similar to that for directors e.g. – name, address, date of birth, nationality, occupation  Exactly what information is held, how much is made public and how frequently it’s updated is being agreed  This will be announced in the Government response
  • 8. What about burdens on business?  Companies are already required to provide beneficial ownership information to financial institutions – These measures will require it to maintain this information – and ensure that the central registry is updated  In requiring companies to obtain and hold information we – will give them the same statutory tools as public companies, and – propose a parallel requirement on beneficial owners to disclose  Deregulatory measures will help to ease the burden – Making it easier to supply information – Making it easier to own information and check it’s correct
  • 9. What about impact on business?  We recognise fears about displacement of businesses to other jurisdictions  We further recognise that companies value confidentiality: but secrecy is not sustainable – It creates vulnerability which is exploited by criminals – To counter this we need a sustainable, transparent business model – Many businesses will recognise benefits  Some information will be kept out of the public domain – The UK will establish a framework of exemptions – Information will still be accessible to law enforcement and regulators
  • 10. What other measures are being taken on Trust and Transparency? The discussion paper proposed measures on:  A central registry of beneficial ownership information  Enhancing transparency around nominee directors  Possible prohibition of: – Creation of new bearer shares – Corporate directors  Strengthening the system for tackling the small minority of company directors that don’t follow the rules
  • 11. In summary Shining a light on who really owns and controls companies: Requiring companies to know who controls them, holding that information in a central registry and making it public but Minimising the burdens of doing it, not penalising honest companies and and protecting those who need it