Reform of Beneficial Ownership at UK Companies House

This post has already been read 682 times!

The UK is planning the biggest overhaul of its official corporate register in 170 years following criticism that it is being used by criminals around the world to launder ill-gotten gains through shell companies. Companies House is to be given more power to check information and the identities of people setting up businesses, as well as the individuals who control them. The move is part of a shake-up of the UK’s registry of more than 4m companies, including boosting Companies House staff, digital capabilities and other resources, amid concerns that criminals are taking advantage of a system that does not have the power to verify even basic details but which gives scammers and kleptocrats the imprimatur of a UK business.

Retail Banking

How to Investigate Money Laundering

By Andy / 17 November 2019 / 0 Comments
How to Investigate Money Laundering - A short Guide How to investigate Money Laundering There are many new entrants to the AML sector that have little to no investigative experience. That's natural in any sector. Below are some tips on...
AML suspicious activity

Money Laundering Red Flags

By Andy / 27 May 2019 / 0 Comments
Money Laundering Red Flags MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING "RED FLAGS" The following are examples of potentially suspicious activities, or "red flags" for both money laundering and terrorist financing. Although these lists are not all-inclusive, they may help banks and...
Cyber enabled Money Laundering

Cyber Money Laundering 101

By Andy / 10 June 2019 / 0 Comments
There are many routes and many options to clean dirty money, it's no wonder AML is such a difficult job. The sheer volume of SARS obfuscates criminals, it doesn't help law enforcement. The below helps to understand just a few...

60 Best Money Laundering Research Papers, Books and web links.

By Andy / 21 May 2020 / 0 Comments
Research into money laundering goes deeper than reading ACAMS or Linkedin. Here we have provided links to the 60 Best Money Laundering Research Papers, books and web articles. In the coming weeks we will be blogging about these articles and...
Money Laundering Definition

What are the best Money Laundering Schemes?

By Andy / 19 November 2019 / 0 Comments
What are the best Money Laundering Schemes? Best money laundering schemes To keep this post quick and easy to read we've put all the schemes we can think of in a table and provided links to more content to find...


By Andy / 29 September 2019 / 0 Comments
CUM-EX DIVIDEND FRAUD EXPLAINED Our 101 CUM-EX dividend fraud explains how this fraud works and also details a range of businesses and individuals who are linked and those that are secondary linked to the businesses. It is clearly very important...

What is a Politically Exposed Person?

By Andy / 13 November 2019 / 0 Comments
What is a Politically Exposed Person? What is a politically exposed person This post will give a definition for a PEP and answer what is a politically exposed person. It also provides details of red flags that indicate a PEP...
Money Laundering Compliance

Preventing Money Laundering 101

By Andy / 22 June 2019 / 0 Comments
Preventing Money Laundering 101 Networks of people, businesses, accounts and transactions makes preventing money laundering very difficult. Despite all the work globally the AML industry still only recovers an estimated 1% of laundered cash. Linking cash to crime as it...
How to Assess and Manage Risk

Anti Money Laundering Warning Signs

By Andy / 6 July 2019 / 0 Comments
Anti Money Laundering Warning Signs In this post we will break down the Signs of Money Laundering and the importance of the first AML officer's actions in a chain that obfuscates the more layers the money goes through. AML Officer...

Red Flag Warnings for AML pt2

By Andy / 8 November 2019 / 0 Comments
Red Flag Warnings for AML pt2 Please continue reading the remainder of our AML fed flags article. Go here for part one. Go here for part three Trade Finance red flagsPrivate ATMsInsurance red flagsShell CompanyEmbassy AccountsEmployee suspicionsOther customer suspicionsPossible Terrorist...

Nearly 3,000 companies list their beneficial owner on Companies House as a company based in a tax haven, even though this is against the rules, according to research from Global Witness, the anti-corruption group. It also spotted over 2,000 persons of significant control behind companies on the registry who were disqualified directors. Even more worryingly, 76 beneficial owners in the registry share their name and date of birth with individuals on the US sanctions list. The hope is to deter scammers by enabling Companies House to challenge the information it is given and carry out identity checks on key people behind companies.

The revamp, largely welcomed by anti-corruption campaigners and industry, comes after previous attempts at tightening up the rules fell flat because Companies House could not police the measures. The National Crime Agency estimates that hundreds of billions of pounds of dirty money is laundered through London every year.

“All legitimate traders would prefer the system to be much tougher than it is.”

The reforms planned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which oversees Companies House, are the latest attempt to galvanise the official registry, which is one of the most transparent in the world: last year it was accessed 6.5bn times. BEIS said late last year that it wanted to tighten century-old rules around corporate structures known as limited partnerships, which are blamed for facilitating money-laundering.Global Witness welcomed the move but said: “the devil will be in the detail”. The group’s anti-corruption campaigner, Nienke Palstra, said: “Unless Companies House is given full statutory powers to check the information it receives, as well as the resources to do so, money launderers will be given a free pass to continue to use UK companies for their crimes.”

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 people have complained that their legitimate details on Companies House have been stolen by fraudsters. This problem is also to be addressed by BEIS’s consultation, with proposals to give directors more control over personal information such as home addresses.“Companies House is worse than useless,” said Alexander Wilson, a former stockbroker who now owns and runs a 150-tenant commercial property in Leeds whose address he complains has been used fraudulently. “By not doing basic checks, they’re aiding and abetting fraud. All legitimate traders would prefer the system to be much tougher than it is.”


Register for our newsletter today


Register for our newsletter today