UK’s Registrar of Companies to be granted more powers

On May 10 2022, the Queen’s Speech presented to parliament the proposal of a new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill.

Discussion over this draft Bill firstly emerged when in February 2022 the register of overseas entities was introduced to the UK parliament. The Bill is expected to confer broader powers upon the Registrar of Companies to ascertain the accuracy of information on the Companies Register.

In particular, the Registrar will have the power to:

  • check, remove or decline information submitted or already present on the Companies Register;
  • verify the identity of those who manage, own and control UK entities, as well as investigate and enforce its powers upon them.

All entities registered must be associated with at least one fully verified natural person, and the information gathered by the register will be cross-checked against that held by other public and private sector bodies.

Further provisions will also involve:

  • anti-abuse measures and strengthening of disclosure requirements limited partnerships;
  • a new civil forfeiture power which will allow for faster seizure and recovery of crypto-assets;
  • the establishment of a new statutory regulator with the duty to supervise corporate reporting, enforce directors’ financial reporting duties, and regulate the activities of professional accountants and actuaries.