We were delighted to see so many of you joining the first Business Data Group webinar on Tuesday, 17 November where we ‘sat down’ virtually with Louise Smyth, Chief Executive and Registrar of Companies in England and Wales, at Companies House.
Whilst the proposed changes to the Corporate Transparency and Register Reform and the Companies House 2020-2025 strategy are clearly very new, it was helpful to hear from Louise directly and gain further clarity on some of the key issues for company formation agents. Over the next year, Business Data Group will be working to support Companies House with the Reform and we look forward to sharing updates with you in due course.
As Louise outlined, one of the biggest upcoming changes is identity checks on directors and Persons of Significant Control, as well as on people filing on behalf of a company. With Companies House forming some 52% of companies through the gov.uk website without scrutiny, this progress is warmly welcomed. It does not, however, in any way mean that other involved parties should cease their own checks or due diligence. There is, and will be, a collective responsibility.
Huge investments in technology will be necessary to support the essential modernisation. It was of little surprise to learn that the Government is yet to approve the budget for the changes, and we are sure to hear more about this as the plans develop and are confirmed. A subject of particular interest to many of you is how Companies House will adapt their fees to meet the additional costs and resources required to implement these changes. We too are keen to understand how this will impact the industry and will certainly be in touch as soon as we know more.
Without a doubt, big changes are afoot at Companies House and it was clear from Louise that this includes the people and ethos. The people at Companies House underpin every section of the 2025 strategy and Louise’s enthusiasm and positivity for bringing together technology and data-centric processes, led by a passionate and committed team, was really encouraging.