Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act received royal assent on 26th October 2023, notably the largest reform ever for Companies House. To date, Companies House has been largely an unresisting administrator of company information which has led to serious concerns about the accuracy of the companies register. The objective of the reform is to ensure Companies House can take a more active role in promoting and maintaining the integrity of the register, resulting in more robust data on UK companies and the people behind them. To do this, the Registrar has been given a larger array of powers to query and investigate the information supplied to it and to change, amend and remove information on the register where deemed inaccurate. Two of the new requirements for identity verifications and the requirement to provide an email are discussed in depth below;

identity Verification Regime for Directors, PSC’s and Shareholders

Previously it has been too easy to register individuals without their consent and to register fictitious individuals and companies at Companies House.  Once a fraudulent appointment has occurred it is time-consuming and costly to resolve.

The new ID verification powers given to Companies House aim to prevent fraudulent appointments and to provide greater assurance to third parties searching the register that the information is genuine.

It is proposed that there will be two types of ID verification, direct verification with Companies House and an indirect route through an Authorised Corporate Service Provider, such as Virtual Company Secretary.

Existing companies will be required to have completed ID verification before their next confirmation statement once the law comes into force. For newly incorporated companies, it will be required as part of the registration documents.

Companies House has not as yet set an implementation date but is advising it will be introduced in 2024. Virtual Company Secretary already has systems in place to provide this service for our client

A new requirement for all Companies to provide an email address

The new requirement is that all companies will need to maintain an appropriate registered email address for correspondence with the Registrar.

If a company fails to maintain an appropriate email address without reasonable excuse, then an offence punishable by a fine is committed by the company and every officer of the company will be in default.  The email address will be able to be changed by giving notice to the Registrar.

The email address will not be visible on the public register for public inspection.

Existing companies will be required to include the registered email address with their next confirmation statement once the law comes into force. For newly incorporated companies, it will be required as part of the registration documents.

The measures are expected to come into force during 2024 as yet no timelines have been advised. Your account manager at Virtual Company Secretary Limited will advise of the impact on your company and any action you need to take.

For further information, please contact us here.

Further Reading can be found here.

The information above does not in any way constitute advice. Seeking specialist expertise and support is highly recommended for all Company Directors.