New legislation to take effect this year is the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, which received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015. Measures will come into effect for all companies, large and small, as they are directed at producing greater transparency; so that UK companies cannot, for instance, be used to buy property with no way of finding out who the ultimate owner is. The general feeling is that the current law left the UK vulnerable to being used to shelter the proceeds of crime, especially from abroad.
The Act is to be implemented in stages.
For 2015, the following will come into force
- Within the next couple of months bearer shares will be abolished, so a shareholder’s name will always have to appear on the Register of Members. All bearer shares will have to be surrendered by the end of 2015. This is only likely to affect the largest companies, such as those quoted on the Stock Exchange.
From October, provisions will come into force that will affect every company, including smaller owner-managed and family companies
- All directors will have to be natural persons i.e. it will no longer be possible for one company (or other corporation) to be the director of another (without leave of the Registrar of Companies). Existing corporate directors will have a year to come off the register.
- Measures will be put in place to resolve disputes around the appointment of directors and any change of registered office to prevent corporate hijack (where an outsider takes over a company at Companies House and excludes the true board with a view to stealing its assets).
- The procedure to strike companies off at Companies House will become easier.
Further provisions will come into effect in 2016, so look out for the next Commercial Bitesize on this Act.
Find out more
Please contact us on 01708 229 444 for more information on how this may affect your business or visit the Company and Commercial page to find out more.