As promised, the Government has published:
- The draft Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill;
- a factsheet on the Register of Overseas Entities; and
- a white paper on corporate transparency and register reform.
The Bill sets out the requirements for registration of overseas entities and to keep information up to date, the offences and sanctions for breach, and the imposition of UWOs on officers of property holders. The requirement to identify beneficial owners will apply to any legal entity governed by the law of a country or territory outside the UK and to individuals who have 25% or more of the shares or voting right in the entity. The Government plans implementation of the register “at pace” after the Bill achieves Royal Assent. By the afternoon of 1 March, the Bill was on its second reading in the Commons.
The white paper includes responses to previous consultations and looks at the proposals to transform Companies House, the role and powers of the Registrar of companies, identity verification and other measures relating to directors, beneficial owners and agents, enhanced data sharing, preventing abuse of personal information on the register and improving the financial information on the register.