On 23 July 2018, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”) published a draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill which would require overseas entities wishing to own land in the UK to take steps to identify and register the beneficial owners of that entity. The objective of the Bill is to increase transparency with a view to tackling money laundering and non-compliance could lead to criminal sanctions and restrictions on the buying and selling of land in the UK.
Views on the draft Bill (which can be found in full here) are being sought and the closing date for any comments is 17 September 2018.
Morris Peacock, Partner at Howes Percival, comments:
“Hot on the heels of the recent Insolvency and Corporate Governance consultation, which closed on 11 June 2018, BEIS are now seeking views on previously announced plans to make public the beneficial owners of overseas entities wishing to own, let or sell land in the UK. The potential sanctions for doing so without complying with the required declarations include up to 5 years imprisonment and simply failing to register can attract a custodial sentence up to 2 years and an unlimited fine.
Directors will no doubt already be digesting the changes introduced last week to the UK Corporate Governance Code by the Financial Reporting Council. In particular, smaller companies are now required to abide by the same rules on board independence as larger companies and will need to hire more independent directors. At the same time, the new code seeks to deter non-executive directors from taking on too many appointments (or “overboarding”) and requires board approval for taking on new responsibilities with other companies.”
The landscape for directors is clearly changing and you can keep up to date with developments on the Howes Percival website.