We have previously reported on the HM Treasury consultation on transposing the Fourth Money Laundering Directive (4MLD) into UK law which needs to be done by 27 June 2017. We have also reported on the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's (BEIS) discussion paper, which sits alongside the Treasury's consultation, but looks specifically at the 4MLD's requirement for EU Member States to maintain a central register of beneficial ownership information of corporate and other legal entities in their territories. This is covered in Article 30 of the 4MLD and BEIS is responsible for its implementation into UK law.
The UK already has a central register of beneficial ownership following the implementation of the PSC (persons with significant control) regime in April 2016. The BEIS discussion paper considered how the 4MLD differs from the UK regime and looked at what changes would need to be made to make the UK regime compliant with Article 30.
Companies House recently published its business plan for 2017-18, its strategic plan for 2017-2020 and a press release with details of additional anti-money laundering measures (including changes to the PSC regime) which will come into force on 26 June 2017. These measures will include changes to the current requirements about PSC information. It is not clear whether BEIS considers that these will be sufficient to ensure that the PSC regime complies with 4MLD or whether further measures will be announced over the next few weeks.
From 26 June 2017:
- The current position where DTR5 companies are exempt from the PSC regime will change with more entities being brought into scope but no indication of how far this will extend. The discussion paper mentioned above suggested this would bring, among others, AIM and NEX Exchange companies into scope which will be a big change, but the position for now is not at all clear and more information is expected to follow on this;
- Companies traded on an EEA market or one of the other exceptions detailed in Schedule 1 of the Register of People with Significant Control Regulations 2016 will continue to be exempt;
- PSC information will no longer be able to be updated on a company's confirmation statement. Instead companies house forms PSC01 to PSC09 will need to be used;
- Companies will be required to update their PSC information within 14 days of any change occurring; and
- Companies will have a further 14 days to file the information with Companies House.
From 24 July 2017;
- Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) and general Scottish partnerships (SPs) where all members are corporate bodies must register PSC information with Companies House; and
- The protection regime (which prevents PSC information in certain prescribed circumstances from being disclosed) will be widened to cover SLPs and SPs as necessary.