The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

May 11th 2023

On 27 April 2023, a further review of the proposed Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill (“the Bill”) took place in the House of Lords. The Bill has already been approved by the House of Commons and if it reaches the final stages, could be introduced as early as the end of 2023. The Bill is intended to further the motives of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022, which was quickly introduced in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, to trace any Russian money in the UK, as well as other foreign countries abusing our open economy.

The Bill proposes to reform Companies House to improve transparency surrounding UK companies and other legal entities and to strengthen the business environment of the UK. The reform includes proposals to:

– Require ID verification for all new and existing company directors and People with Significant Control over these companies, as well as for those delivering documents to the Registrar. 

– Give the Registrar more powers to become an active gatekeeper over the creation of new companies, with new powers to check, remove or decline information submitted to the register.

– Give Companies House more effective investigation and enforcement powers and introduce better cross-checking of data with other public and private sector entities. Companies House will also be able to share data with law enforcement bodies.

– Enhance the protection of personal information provided to Companies House to protect individuals from fraud and other harms.

In addition to the plans to reform Companies House, there are also further proposals to:

– Provide broader reforms to cut down on misuse of corporate entities, particularly focusing on Limited Partnerships.

– Grant law enforcement bodies additional powers to seize and recover suspected criminal cryptoassets. 

– Strengthen anti-money laundering provisions by enabling better information sharing, proactive intelligence and focusing law enforcement on tracing high value activity.

You can track the progress of the Bill here

If you would like to speak to a solicitor in our Corporate and Commercial department to discuss any matters regarding your company and keeping your company’s information up to date at Companies House, please contact our offices on 01295 204000 and we would be happy to assist.

The UK has one of the world’s largest and most open economies, making it an attractive place for global business. However, this same openness exposes the UK to the risk of bad actors taking advantage, including to perpetrate fraud and money laundering, which, in turn, funds serious and organised crime here in the UK, and facilitates corruption overseas. The threat of illicit finance undermines legitimate business and impacts on everyday society and all citizens’ lives.