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UK company ownership register postponed until next June

Tuesday, 1 September, 2015

The new requirement on UK companies to keep a register of 'people with significant control' (PSC) has been delayed by three months.

The plan for a PSC register (originally a 'beneficial ownership register') was announced in 2013. Following a consultation, draft legislation was published in June 2014. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the Enterprise Act) established that the registry will be open to the public, and will include companies ostensibly controlled by trusts.

However, several points of detail still remained to be resolved, including the exact meaning of the phrase 'significant control', and safeguards needed to protect the safety of persons named on the register. Expert groups were set up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) earlier this year to discuss these and related matters.

Now the new obligation on companies to create a register of their PSCs has been postponed from January 2016 to April 2016. The corresponding obligation to file this information at Companies House has been postponed from 6 April 2016 until 30 June 2016. This information will still have to be updated at least once every 12 months.

Measures to strengthen the director disqualification regime have also been delayed until June 2016.

No explanation of the delays has been offered, and BIS admits that there may be further changes to the implementation schedule as the associated secondary legislation passes through parliament.

  • Another of the Enterprise Act's key clauses – a general prohibition on corporate directors – has been postponed for a whole year until October 2016.