By Piers Larbey
Further changes have been announced to UK Anti-Money Laundering and the PSC (People of Significant Control) Regime which will impact company filing requirements. On 26 June 2017 changes will come into effect which in part are aimed at helping prevent money laundering and terrorist funding by increasing the transparency of who owns and controls UK companies.
From that date changes to people with significant control - in other words the owners or main shareholders of companies - will no longer be notified to Companies House by way of the new confirmation statement, but by using new form PSC01 to PSC09.
Any changes to people with significant control must be updated on your register within 14 days and notified to Companies House within a further 14 days. This information will be available to members of the public free of charge.
It is important to remember the sanctions for failing to comply with these new requirements. If a company fails to take reasonable steps to find its PSCs or give notice to keep their information up to date, the company and its officers are liable on conviction to a maximum of 2 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
However, it remains to be seen the extent to which Companies House will enforce these penalties during the initial months of implementation of the new regime.
Prior to these changes, updates to a company's PSC register were only required to be filed annually as part of the confirmation statement.
This change marks a departure from the current regime and requires companies to ensure that they keep on top of changes to their PSC information and ensure that they are filed in accordance with the new time frames.
To make matters more complicated, further changes and/or guidance is expected that will apply to non-listed DTR5 issuers such as AIM companies, notwithstanding the additional disclosure requirements to which they are subject.
It would be sensible for any such companies to familiarise themselves with the existing PSC regime pending release of more comprehensive guidelines, to be ready for an alignment or expansion of the existing regime.
For further help and guidance on these changes and how they may affect you and your company, please do not hesitate to contact Piers Larbey.