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Corporate transparency proposals 15/07/2013 The Business Secretary has published a discussion paper outlining measures to improve corporate transparency and strengthen director disqualification laws.

Corporate transparency proposals

Business Secretary Vince Cable has published a discussion paper outlining measures to help improve corporate transparency and strengthen director disqualification laws.

The paper sets out a number of proposals aimed at addressing opaque company ownership structures and improving the accountability of company directors. The proposed reforms seek to promote growth by improving confidence in the UK as an open and trusted place to invest and do business. Greater transparency and improved trust will mean honest entrepreneurs and investors can do business more securely in the UK and not be disadvantaged by those who don’t play by the rules.

The first part of the paper looks to inject greater transparency around who really owns and controls companies in the UK.

The paper sets out how the UK will implement its G8 commitment to a central registry of companies’ beneficial owners. In addition it proposes the abolition of bearer shares and measures to tackle misuse of corporate directors and nominee directors. These reforms would help to tackle tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and improve the investment climate in the UK.

The second half of the paper sets out ways of making directors more accountable for misconduct or company failure – including directors of banks.

Key proposals include giving regulators greater powers to disqualify directors in specific sectors and allowing courts to take more account of the social impacts of directors’ actions. The paper also asks whether disqualified directors should directly compensate creditors after a company collapses, be offered education before returning to such a position and whether disqualified foreign directors should be barred from holding a similar position in the UK.

Comments are sought by 16th September.


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