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Reforms to Companies House announced to counter financial crime

Chris Hamblin, Editor, London, 21 September 2020


HM Government is to reform Companies House in an effort to clamp down on fraud and money laundering by rendering companies unable to appoint directors whose identities have not been verified. Companies House is also to acquire greater powers to query, investigate and remove false information from its register.

The phrase 'beneficial owner' appears nowhere on the relevant page on the Government website, which suggests that the agency will not be doing much in future to check the veracity of beneficial ownership information on its register. At present, it does nothing to verify this.

Alun Milford, a criminal litigation partner at the law firm of Kingsley Napley, told Compliance Matters: "The announcement follows up on earlier statements of intent and plainly it makes sense to reinforce Companies House as part of a wider response to economic crime. But, as ever, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating and Companies House will clearly also need greater resources if it is to implement these important changes effectively."

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