Did you know the law affecting most companies is changing?  Are you aware how this will affect you and what steps you will need to take?

From April 2016, most UK companies are required to keep a register of people with significant control over the company (known as a “person with significant control” or “PSC”).  This PSC register needs to be available for inspection from 6 April 2016 and in addition companies will be required to deliver certain information to Companies House from 30 June 2016 confirming who has significant control over the company.

Any one or more of the following individuals will be a person with significant control and their details should be recorded in the register:

  • A person who directly or indirectly owns more than 25% of the company’s shares
  • A person who directly or indirectly controls more than 25% of the company’s voting rights
  • A person who directly or indirectly has the right to appoint or remove a majority of the board of company directors
  • A person who has the right to exercise significant influence or control over a company
  • A person who has the right to exercise significant influence or control over the activities of a trust or firm which in turn meets any of the four conditions above

Unsurprisingly, there has been much discussion on what “significant influence or control” actually means which has opened up significant debate during the legislation consultation period.  The new changes will also see the requirement to file a traditional annual return with Companies House and replaced with a requirement to file a confirmation statement to the effect that all required information (e.g. as to directors, registered office and company registers) has been delivered to Companies House.

It is particularly important to note that it is criminal offence to fail to comply with the new PSC regime, so we are encouraging all companies to ensure they are up to speed.  Even if a company caught by the new regime does not have any PSCs, it still has an obligation to keep a PSC register.