Robust laws passed to fight corruption, money laundering and fraud
By Law News
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act gives Companies House a huge range of new powers to help disrupt economic crime and increase trust in the companies register in the biggest upgrade of its service in close to 180 years
Organisations whose members are affected by this new legislation have provided the following quotes.
Nick Emmerson, President of the Law Society of England and Wales said: “We welcome Companies House getting new powers, which will enable them to be more active in preventing the creation of, and shutting down, fraudulent companies.
“These powers should help to give people more confidence that companies have put correct information onto the register.
“We look forward to working with Companies House to make sure that the powers introduced are effective in minimising fraud, but at the same time they do not put onerous burdens onto legitimate businesses.”
Glenn Collins, Head of Technical and Strategic Engagement, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) said: “ACCA welcomes reforming the role of Companies House to improve transparency over UK entities. Integrity of corporate information is vital in a modern, open economy. To support business decisions UK businesses need to be confident the companies register has reliable and complete information.”
Robert Mudge, Executive Director of Regulation, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) said: “Ensuring that Companies House has adequate powers to regulate and investigate is also a welcome step forward. This legal update is crucial in enabling registrar to keep up to date with fast moving digital technology protecting individual and businesses against fraud.”
Mike Miller, ICAEW Economic Crime Manager, said: “We have long campaigned for these important reforms to improving the quality of information held on the Register, which had been subject to abuse for many years. It’s vital for both the business community and the public interest that the platform contains accurate and verified company data, and these changes should achieve this.
“These are ambitious reforms and will take both time and a significant increase in resourcing to implement effectively. We look forward to working with Companies House to overcome any challenges as these changes are introduced.”
Gareth Jones, Chairman of the Board, ACRA said: “ The Association of Company Registration Agents (ACRA) which represents company formation agents and company service providers broadly welcomes the ECCT Bill and the positive contribution we have been able to make towards its development. Our members have long believed that Companies House should replicate the sort of due diligence that we undertake to ensure the quality of information on the Companies’ Register. The new Act will be a significant contributor to ensuring that the Register cannot be used for unlawful purposes and ACRA looks forward to continuing to work with the Department for Business and Trade and Companies House as the provisions of the Act are implemented over the coming months and years.”
Sue Chapple, Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management said: “The Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) has been an active supporter of Companies House from the beginning. But we have also never been afraid to express concerns where they have been warranted in supporting our members in using data to take informed decisions to mitigate risk and support business growth. An Act which seeks to significantly improve the validity and reliability of information held by Companies House has to be a good thing and is arguably long overdue. Of course, it could have gone further, but we should celebrate small victories where they present themselves and giving Companies House greater powers of investigation and enforcement alongside more robust initial identity verification requirements for new and existing directors are both positive steps in the right direction. Our members have to know that the information kept at Companies House can be relied upon, subject to their own professional insight and expertise in interpreting the information they are given. This is even more important in the current financial climate.”
Peter Swabey, Director of Policy and Research, Chartered Governance Institute, UK & Ireland said:
“We strongly endorse the provisions of the new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act and the expanded responsibilities of Companies House to question and verify the accuracy of the information submitted for registration. At the heart of effective governance is effective decision making based on accurate information. This is why we believe that companies should take advantage of the specialist skills of a qualified company secretary or governance professional when filing information at Companies House in order to ensure the quality of the data provided.
These reforms will transform the trustworthiness of information held by Companies House and the reliance which can be placed on it. Although some of these changes may be onerous for some of our members, they will enhance the United Kingdom’s already strong reputation as a great place to do business which is why they have our and our members’ support.”
A spokesperson for the Business Information Providers Association (BIPA) said: "The Business Information Providers Association (BIPA) warmly welcomes the passing of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill into law. This is a landmark piece of legislation that will make Companies House one of the most transparent and robust business registers in the world.
BIPA has campaigned for many of the reforms included in the Bill, and we are pleased to see that the Government has listened to our concerns. The increased powers for Companies House to investigate and enforce compliance with company filing requirements will help ensure that the UK's business register is a fully trusted source of information for businesses. Having a world-class business register will make a dramatic contribution to tackling economic crime, facilitate improved credit terms for SMEs and lower risk for credit providers as well as boosting economic growth by promoting transparency and clean business in the UK business community.
We look forward to working with Companies House to implement the new reforms and making the UK's business register the standard that leads the global economy.”