The BVI government has published proposals for a Central Registry of Company Beneficial Ownership.
Individuals with more than 25 per cent of a company's equity or who otherwise have control of the company will have to be identified on the register at Companies House.
The proposals also include abolition of bearer shares and yet another review of the law on pre-pack administrations.
This is in part following the measures to help improve corporate transparency and strengthen director disqualification laws; which have been outlined in the publication of a discussion paper by the Business Secretary Vince Cable. The main elements of the ‘transparency’ section of the paper include:
- options for the implementation of a central registry information on of companies’ beneficial ownership maintained by Companies House, following on from the Prime Minister’s G8 commitment. The registry would hold information on individuals with more than 25 per cent of shares or voting rights in a company, or who otherwise control the way a company is run. Key questions include whether information in the registry should be made public, what information is to be provided and how it is to be updated.
- the abolition of bearer shares given the potential for misuse – these allow the true owner of these to remain hidden as their name is not disclosed on a company’s register of members
- whether nominee directors should be required to disclose their status to Companies House and who they are acting for and whether directors should be banned from signing away their responsibilities as directors. While nominees can be used in legitimate commercial scenarios, it can also mean the true owners of a company are hidden
- the abolition of corporate directors – a situation where a company is director. Although rarely used, these can result in complex corporate ownership structures which hide the beneficial owner’s true identity
Read more at: Tax Times blog