From 6 April 2016, a new regime for the disclosure of people with significant control over UK companies and LLPs comes into force. Most UK companies and LLPs will be required to obtain information on their beneficial owners and controllers (referred to as people with significant control) and hold and maintain that information in a new register, known as the “PSC register.”
Broadly speaking, an individual with significant control will meet at least one of the following five conditions:
- Has directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares.
- Has directly, or indirectly, more than 25% of the voting rights in the company.
- Has the right, directly or indirectly, to appoint or remove a majority of the company’s directors.
- Has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, ‘significant influence or control’ over the company.
- Has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the activities of a trust or firm, where the trustees of that trust or members of that firm themselves meet one of the specified conditions above or would do if they were individuals.
The PSC register will include information on an individual’s name, date of birth, nationality, address and detail of their interest in the company. The PSC register will be publicly accessible, both at the company’s registered office and (save for residential addresses) at Companies House. Firms will be required to maintain a PSC register from 6 April 2016, but the requirement to file the PSC register at Companies House will apply from 30 June 2016.
The new regime is intended to increase transparency regarding those who own and control UK companies, with a view to help combat tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing. The EU has also introduced similar measures in the Fourth Money Laundering Directive which must be implemented by June 2017.