Companies House to launch mandatory identify verification requirement

Company directors will not be appointed until their identity has been verified by Companies House, new plans have revealed.

The measure – designed to tackle fraud and money laundering – comes in response to the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform consultation.

Companies House said the new mandatory identify verification requirement will “increase the reliability of the data showing who is behind each company” so that businesses can trade in confidence.

The UK’s register of companies also said the new measure will “improve the ability of law enforcement agencies” to trace the activities of company directors suspected of fraud or money laundering.

While burdensome on businesses, Companies House reassures that the plans “will not impact on the typical speed at which a company or organisation is formed and other filings are completed”, adding that most companies will be able to be incorporated easily within 24 hours as is the case now.

Commenting on the changes, Minister for Corporate Responsibility Lord Callanan said: “We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. The reforms we are making to the Companies House register will provide businesses with greater confidence in their transactions.

“Mandatory identity verification will mean criminals have no place to hide – allowing us to clamp down on fraud and money laundering and ensure people cannot manipulate the UK market for their own financial gain, whilst ensuring for the majority that the processes for setting up and running a company remain quick and easy.”

According to the latest statistics, the Companies House website is used more than 9.4 billion times a year to research potential suppliers and partners.

Please get in touch with our expert corporate law team for further information and advice relating to company formations and Companies House requirements.

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Maung Aye
Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell.Solicitors following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex. Maung read European Legal Studies at Lancaster University and the Università degli Studi di Trento and is a fluent Italian speaker.