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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published a discussion paper to gauge views on how to implement new requirements around recording company beneficial ownership information in a publicly accessible central register say Harris & Co accountants Northampton #accountantsnorthampton

It also consulting on what guidance will be required to help companies understand and comply with the new requirement for UK companies to keep a register of people with significant control over the company and file this at Companies House.

This requirement to keep a ‘person with significant control’ (PSC) register forms part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is currently before parliament.

The PSC Register is seen as central to the government’s proposed reforms to increase transparency of company ownership and control.

As well as looking at the guidance around recording information on the PSC, the discussion paper asks for views on two key elements to implement the register that will be dealt with in secondary legislation. The first is the way a PSC’s control over a company is recorded on the PSC register, and secondly the way some PSC data needs to be protected from public disclosure.

It is looking for feedback on the operation of the ‘protection regime’ for information which is useful to law enforcement agencies and other specified public authorities in carrying out investigations but which would pose an unacceptable level of risk to individuals in terms of the potential for identity theft and fraud were it made publicly available.

Under current proposals, the usual residential address (URA) of a PSC will not be publicly disclosed, but it will be accessible to specified public authorities and credit reference agencies (CRAs) on request.

Some individuals may consider themselves to be at increased risk of harm if their URA were to be shared with CRAs and the paper outlines the existing model that allows company directors to apply to prevent their URA being shared with CRAs and seeks views on whether any modifications are required in the context of PSCs.

The paper also considers the regime for people who could be put at serious risk of harm if they were known to be associated with a particular company, which would allow individuals to apply to have their personal information protected from disclosure on the PSC register in exceptional circumstances. Issues to consider include assessing how the process might work, including the criteria for application; how the registrar would make a decision; and how long the protection would last.

Responses are requested by 9 December 2014.

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