A number of changes to company law are currently being phased in as part of the Small Business, Enterprise & Employment Act 2015. One of the changes gives limited companies the option to keep their statutory registers at Companies House rather than at their Registered Office or at a Single Alternative Inspection Location (‘SAIL’).
While keeping the statutory registers at Companies House may seem an attractive option, company officers will still have a duty to keep the registers updated. However, we urge caution for anyone considering taking advantage of this new facility because of the potentially serious privacy implications for directors, shareholders and anyone who appears on the new People with Significant Control register.
When registers are transferred to Companies House, all information contained within them, including full dates of birth, directors’ and shareholders’ residential addresses, will become part of the public record (currently some parts are kept off the public record in order to protect identities). Under the new option, the registers will be available for inspection by anyone via the Companies House website. Whilst companies will be able to revert to keeping registers at their registered office or SAIL address, any information placed on the public record while the registers were held at Companies House, continues to remain part of the public record.
The directors and shareholders whose details are published will be at greater risk of falling victim of identity theft and similar frauds as the vast amount of freely available personal data will almost inevitably attract those with criminal intentions.
There are solutions for directors of private companies who are keen to reduce the administrative burden of running a company without putting directors and shareholders at risk. London Registrars offers a range of company secretarial services, including a basic statutory compliance service. As part of this service we will hold and maintain your company’s registers securely at our central London office, which allows for the directors’ and shareholders’ residential addresses, directors’ dates of birth etc. to be kept off the public record, thus safeguarding their identities and minimising the risk of fraud.
For an informal, no obligations discussion on how we can assist you, please contact us.