In Singapore on Wednesday David Cameron made clear his determination for the UK not to become a safe haven for corrupt money, saying that “when you have companies whose ownership isn’t known you allow a shroud of secrecy behind which people can do bad things, sometimes terrible things, with no accountability.”
The movement towards greater business transparency has continued to gather pace. With beneficial ownership disclosure in relation to UK companies becoming mandatory next year, the focus is now on extending transparency requirements to overseas investment in the UK.
The first step: beneficial ownership transparency for UK-incorporated companies
As of April next year, the UK will become the first major country to establish a publicly accessible central registry showing who really owns and controls all British companies (please see our briefing note and previous blog entries for further details of the new UK company law regime).
As David Cameron pointed out in Singapore, however, this regime will only apply in Britain and only to British companies, and so the aim is for other countries to follow: to tackle corruption effectively, data needs to be traceable from one country to another. The UK government will continue therefore to make the case for transparency with its international partners, including the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. The prime minister has now stated, however, that he is willing to go further and “take concrete steps to force the pace“, which includes looking at whether we can get foreign companies investing in the UK to step up to the same level of transparency.
Read the full article on Business Shapers.