From 6 April 2016 new regulations require all UK companies and LLPs to keep a register of any person who is deemed to have “significant control” over them. The regulations do not apply to listed companies (as they are already subject to disclosure obligations) but will apply to their subsidiaries.

Companies/LLPs must take reasonable steps to identify any party who may exert significant control (known as a “PSC”), including looking behind shareholders who are trusts or foreign companies.

Even if a company/LLP has no PSCs it must keep a register. From 30 June 2016 this must be filed at Companies House with the annual confirmation (previously known as the annual return) and new companies/LLPs will also be required to provide details of their PSCs upon incorporation.

Non-compliance with the regulations will be a criminal offence. Every party who does not comply – from directors not taking reasonable steps to identify PSCs, to shareholders not providing information requested from them – will be liable to an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment.