Service of documents between the UK and the EU after Brexit

So crowded has the general news agenda been in relation to other issues since the beginning of 2021, that it might seem hard to believe the UK really has been experiencing the implications of Brexit ‘proper’ for less than a year.

With the Brexit transition period having come to a close at the end of 2020, this has made a significant difference to the wide range of procedural rules to be followed by litigators and those drafting commercial contracts.

Just one of these key areas relates to the receipt and service of documents and the appointment of a UK process agent on the conclusion of any contracts based on UK jurisdiction, where one of the parties is based overseas so that the UK process agent can receive such documents on behalf of the party based in another territory.

Service of documents prior to Brexit

During its time as an EU member state, the UK was subject to the EC Regulation 1393/2007 on the service in EU countries of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters. Also known as the Service Regulation, this regulation sought to put in place a standardised and efficient procedure for the service of documents between parties in different EU member states.

The regulation works as follows: each member state designates transmitting and receiving agencies, with the transmitting agency in one country sending the documents to the receiving agency in another state, and the receiving agency then being responsible for service. Member states are also allowed to use registered post to serve directly on a party in another member state.

How has the situation now changed in the UK?

With the aforementioned Service Regulation no longer applying to the UK since January 2021, this country has instead become subject to the Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the service abroad of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil and commercial matters.

This instrument was already applicable to the service of documents between the UK and Denmark and the countries making up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – except Lichtenstein – as well as between the UK and the United States and various other countries.

Fortunately, all 27 member states of the EU are signatories to this convention. It therefore won’t be necessary to consider whether an instrument other than the convention applies, regardless of the specific EU member state that one is dealing with.

On the negative side, however, all 27 EU member states have also made reservations and declarations about the convention. This makes it necessary to take a closer look at the rules in place in the relevant country.

In practice, there might not be a great difference to the means of service under the Hague Convention, compared to the arrangements that previously applied. There is a need for contracting states to designate a central authority, to which requests for service can be addressed. This authority is then responsible for arranging for service, in line with its country’s national laws. The Hague Convention also allows for service by mail, although this isn’t permitted by some contracting countries.

What are the real-world implications of this change?

The biggest difference under the new arrangements is likely to be how much time it takes for documents to be served. While it was expected under the Service Regulation that receiving agencies would serve documents with a month of receipt, there isn’t any similar provision in the Hague Convention. This raises the prospect that in some instances there could be delays of several months.

A good practical step, then, if your organisation is entering a new contract with an EU-based counterparty, would be to include a  process agent clause in the contract, setting out who has authority to accept service on behalf of the counterparty. This could be a UK process agent which in turn could greatly help minimise time and cost, in the event that proceedings later need to be issued.

Distinguishing between a process server and a process agent

A process server is instructed by one party in a contract to serve documents onto the counterparty, and the appointment of a process server is made at the time there is a need for such action.  The process agent (also known as an agent for service), on the other hand,  will not serve any documents on any other party. For instance, here at London Registrars, the first part of our function as process agent is the opposite: to have documents served on us, on behalf of our various appointor clients based outside of the UK, with whom we previously entered into a process agency contract.

In other words, we are effectively serving as such a client’s UK office in order to receive service of documents which, once they have been served on us, we will simply forward to our client to complete the second part of our function as their UK process agent.

For us to accept service of any documents, there must be a current process agency agreement in place between ourselves and the appointor. Any other documents outside such an arrangement would have no relevance to us or our function as a process agent.

Would you like to learn more about our cost-effective process agent service if you are an overseas firm dealing with UK-based suppliers or tenders? If so, please do not hesitate to reach out to the London Registrars team for further advice, guidance and information.

October 2021

What is the current regulatory state of play for the circular economy in the UK and the EU?

In a recent blog post here at London Registrars, we took a closer look at the increasing pertinence of the circular economy and the associated importance for all manner of organisations of adopting and embracing circular models.

What we did not specifically address in that blog post, however, was the emerging regulation on this issue in both the UK and the European Union (EU).

Environmental regulations that are relevant to companies’ aspirations towards circularity are becoming broader based and more prominent, and it is crucial for affected businesses to keep up to date with the latest changes.

The regulatory and legal picture that today’s firms must be aware of

One important aspect to consider for businesses looking to adopt circular models is the competition implications potentially arising from certain initiatives and collaborations. Even if the intention is to promote sustainability, any agreements that restrict competition, or practices that represent an abuse of a dominant position, could be scrutinised from a competition perspective.

With regard to the present situation in the EU, the European Green Deal outlines the bloc’s strategy to transform its economy while achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

The EU’s first circular economic strategy, launched in 2015, saw the introduction of four waste directives. In March 2020, the EU introduced its new circular economy action plan, which is a key part of the Green Deal package. Various measures are planned, including renewed action on waste as well as a consumer right to repair. It is thought that further initiatives will be announced in such sectors as plastics, packaging and textiles.

As for the UK, the Government and the devolved administrations released a joint policy statement in July 2020 reiterating that the UK was committed to making a circular economy a reality. Existing EU environmental legislation was retained into UK law when the Brexit transition period concluded, but the UK is not obliged to implement further EU circular economy legislative measures brought in since 1 January 2021.

At the time of writing, the Environment Bill – with measures including the extension of producer responsibility schemes – was making its way through Parliament, reaching the stage of a third reading in the House of Lords.

Our corporate governance expertise can help guide your firm through the new era

With much focus turning to the concrete means by which a truly circular economy can be achieved across the UK and the EU, your organisation is also likely to appreciate expert and informed assistance on all manner of aspects of its corporate governance, risk management and compliance.

Our knowhow in the best company secretarial practice for PLCs and other organisations leaves us well-placed to serve these needs that your firm may have. Enquire to our team today, and we will be pleased to outline how we could assist you in 2021 and beyond.

September 2021

The transition to a circular economy – and what businesses need to know

It is nothing new for organisations, consumers and governments to take a keen interest in global sustainability. However, many of us might not be aware of precisely what these institutions and individuals are doing to help usher in the new era of the circular economy.

More and more, customers are exerting pressure on companies to embrace circular models. Unsurprisingly then, recent years have also seen shareholders place greater emphasis on the measures their companies are adopting in relation to social and environmental issues.

How can a business move towards circularity?

If private-sector businesses are to be successful in achieving circularity, it is crucial for them to be aware of the business models that would be most helpful in this regard.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has outlined five such business models for firms seeking to transition to a more resource-efficient and circular economy:

  • circular supply models
  • resource recovery models
  • product life extension models
  • sharing models
  • product service system models

Some high profile organisations have already embedded one or more of these models into their all-round business processes.

Specific steps that businesses may look to take on their journey to circularity include investment in innovation and research & development, as well as increasing collaborations, incentivising innovation by employees, and the termination of existing contracts, so that they can be replaced with alternative arrangements. Many firms are also engaging circularity specialists to aid them in undertaking this important transition.

What are the consequences and risks of circular business models?

The adoption of circular business models is not without its risks. In collaborative situations, for instance, it is vital for all parties involved to be clear about who will own, or have the right to use, the data, intellectual property and know-how arising from the relevant products or processes.

A similarly pressing priority is for due diligence to be undertaken in supply chains to discern whether there are any links in the value chain that are not circular.

In addition, businesses must be cautious about any ‘green’ claims they may make in their marketing materials. Any such claims turning out to be false present the risk of consumers initiating actions in relation to misrepresentation, or actions based on their consumer rights.

With moves being made across the UK, the European Union (EU) and the world towards a more circular economy, it is not a matter that many businesses around Europe and beyond will be able to ignore in the months and years to come.

Allow London Registrars to be your dependable company secretarial partners

For solutions ranging from registered office addresses and directors’ service addresses to the maintenance of the statutory registers and the preparation and submission of the annual Confirmation Statements, London Registrars can offer company secretarial packages to suit.

You can learn more about how we can assist your own organisation in the fulfilment of its corporate governance and compliance objectives by enquiring to us today by phone or email.

September 2021

The major risks and opportunities facing boardrooms in the summer of 2021

As we begin to see reasons for hope concerning the longer-term trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic, boardrooms are also having to grapple with a multitude of business risks that they must navigate, often rapidly changing and of great complexity.

Here are some of the greatest of those risks – but also opportunities – that boards and management are required to be mindful of in mid-2021.

Continuity of trading

Crisis management, dealing with often unpredictable disruption, and business continuity have always been essential elements of risk management. However, the severity of the challenge that these factors pose has increased dramatically over the past 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic, quickly becoming the main subject of discussion in boardrooms.

The pandemic has caused many ups and downs, with multiple country-wide lockdowns, ever-changing government restrictions, and considerable uncertainty. This has led to many businesses suffering sometimes extreme downturns, including – in some cases – having to close their doors for trading for good.

Even for those firms that have emerged in some degree of health from the pandemic so far, the return to the office has often been a testing process. Risk assessments need to be regularly undertaken, rules complied with, and the workplace made safe for employees at all times.

Employee wellbeing

Maintaining employee wellbeing should be one of the top considerations for any boardroom, becoming increasingly important due to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Multiple country-wide lockdowns have helped bring mental health discussions to the forefront, as large numbers of employees have had to deal with at least some degree of insecurity, uncertainty, and isolation.

With employees and fairness in the workplace having become key areas of focus for investors and in the regulations, it is clear that helping to ensure a high degree of employee wellbeing could be integral to also delivering strong productivity, output and results in the months ahead.

Office model

Since the onset of the pandemic, companies that have embraced remote working and focussed on employee wellbeing have often produced surprisingly positive results. However, it is fair to say that this remote working strategy was the direct result of a global crisis – a necessity – and therefore questions remain as to whether remote working after the worst of the crisis has passed could deliver different outcomes.

Therefore, businesses must choose an office model and operating strategy that aligns with the company’s longer-term objectives to produce the best results. Office-based models might be better for brands that strongly believe in an in-person office culture, whereas remote models may be preferable for firms that prioritise flexibility and independent working.

It might be that you desire the best of both worlds for your business, in which case, you may be drawn to a hybrid office model. This allows employees to work from home, the office, or a mix of the two depending on their personal circumstances and job role.

A hybrid model could enable businesses to take advantage of the monetary savings associated with remote working, plus the flexibility for employees to choose their preferred working style, while also allowing for processes and innovations that work most effectively in person. In light of this, a re-configuration of the layout of the office might be required, offering more collaborative areas as opposed to individual desks.

Continue to adapt with the help of London Registrars

Your business doesn’t need to struggle alone to overcome the challenges mentioned above that have arisen from the pandemic.

London Registrars can help your business to continue satisfying its legal, governance and compliance obligations through what remains of the COVID-19 crisis, encompassing such key services and solutions as the preparation and submission of the annual Confirmation Statement, minute book maintenance, and register of shareholders maintenance.

For more information about how we can advise and assist businesses like yours, please don’t hesitate to enquire to the London Registrars team today.

August 2021

Why we advise against the use of cheques as payment for our services?

One of the recent debates among ourselves here at London Registrars concerned the tendency of some firms solicitors to still send us cheques in payment of invoices. While these cheques are usually for less than £200, we advise against clients of our services depending on us always accepting cheques as payment.

The reasons for this are several: Firstly, our nearest bank branch has been closed since before the lockdown, and the next branch – over half an hour away in the City – has not reopened yet following the easing of restrictions. To bank a cheque is a costly exercise for us  as it takes one of our employees the best part of an hour-and-a-half to bank a cheque.

There is also, however, the very little-known issue of the law surrounding cheques – as detailed below.

Cheques are not legal tender

To understand our policy against the use of cheques as payment where at all possible, it is instructive to look back at how they have always been defined.

Ever since cheques were first introduced, they have not been a promise to pay by the bank, but instead a request to the bank that it pays a certain amount to a third party, out of the funds the customer deposits. The Bills of Exchange Act 1882, for instance, defines a cheque as a written order from an account holder, instructing that their bank pays – on demand – a specified sum of money to one or more named beneficiaries.

As a consequence, a bank will only honour a cheque if the account holder has enough funds to meet it, or if it can be covered by a line of credit such as an agreed overdraft.

At no point in their history have cheques ever been legal tender. This means that if you owe money to someone, they are not obliged to accept a cheque. A creditor has the right to be paid in legal tender, and can refuse any other form of payment.

Contact the London Registrars team about our governance and compliance support

With our company secretarial solutions encompassing such services as directors’ service addresses, the preparation and submission of the annual Confirmation Statement, and register of shareholders maintenance, we are pleased to cater to a wide range of requirements in relation to corporate governance, risk and compliance.

Please enquire to us today for further information about any of our areas of know-how and experience, either by phone or email to [email protected]

August 2021

The Government advice on safe working applicable from 19 July 2021

With England now having moved to stage four of the UK Government’s “roadmap” out of the longstanding coronavirus restrictions, updated guidance on working safely has been set out.

In news that will naturally be of interest to organisations benefitting from various London Registrars services such as statutory records and Company Secretarial Support, the Government has re-categorised its guidance into six separate sector-specific guides.

These guides, in turn, address the main activities, with separate guidelines having been published for niche activities. Such workplaces as offices, factories and labs have now been grouped together.

The Government has said that it expects and recommends a gradual return to workplaces during the summer. It has urged employers to talk about the return to the workplace with workers and trade unions, so that working arrangements can be made that satisfy the requirements of both individuals and businesses.

In addition, employers have been encouraged to liaise on matters of health and safety with any other firms with which may share a workspace.

What six priority actions are businesses urged to take?

Detailed in the modified Government guidance are six priority actions businesses have been told they should be taking from 19 July 2021. These measures are all expected in order to help protect workers and customers alike, and include the following:

  • Health and safety assessments
  • Providing adequate ventilation
  • Regular cleaning
  • Turning away anyone with symptoms of COVID-19
  • Allowing people to check in to premises
  • Communicating and providing training on the safety measures presently in place

How can businesses ensure they meet their obligations?

Organisations have been told that they should be implementing measures to help minimise contact between workers, such as the use of fixed teams or “cohorting” so that an employee only works with a few others, as well as putting in place screens or barriers where people do find themselves in close proximity.

It has also been suggested that employers should consider back-to-back and side-to-side working, instead of face-to-face. Also, where possible, workstations should be assigned to individuals. Where there is a need for continued hot-desking arrangements, employers are expected to make sure these areas are adequately cleaned.

The continued wearing of face coverings by workers and customers is also still encouraged in crowded or enclosed spaces. Employers should support workers who favour wearing a face covering, while being mindful of those with disabilities before demanding that they are worn. Employers have been advised against the precautionary use of PPE unless non-COVID risks make it necessary, or unless they are responding to a suspected or confirmed case of the virus.

What relation does the guidance have to existing employment and health and safety law?

The above guidance does not supersede the existing legal obligations imposed on employers with regard to health and safety, employment, and equalities duties in relation to employees, workers and customers. It is, instead, non-statutory guidance that employers are expected to take into account in the process of meeting existing obligations.

Employers have been urged to give particular consideration to higher-risk workers and those facing difficulties with their physical and mental health. Employers can support such them by discussing their individual needs and taking any further precautions that their clinicians advise.

With our wide-ranging know-how and experience in all manners of back-office compliance and governance, and services ranging from business formations and dissolutions to board support and taking companies to listing on the various exchanges, London Registrars can help put your organisation on the path to success in 2021 – and beyond. Contact us now for more information.

July 2021

 

What has the impact of Brexit been so far on UK financial services?

As a provider of company secretarial services and expertise here at London Registrars, we naturally take a great interest in the ongoing effects the UK’s departure from the European Union is exerting on the City of London.

One development that caught our eye in this regard was the release of a report by think tank New Financial in April, detailing how Brexit has so far reshaped the financial services sector across the UK and Europe.

There’s no question that the report – which draws upon a combination of regulatory registers, media reports and other research reports, as well as information from development agencies and government bodies – will be a sobering read for many in the UK.

How ‘Brexit has meant Brexit’ for financial services firms across the continent

Circular arguments about Brexit and its potential and likely consequences – both positive and negative – have unquestionably dominated much of political conversation since the 2016 referendum that returned a vote in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

Now, however – more than six months on from the end of the transition period – the financial services industry in both the City of London and wider Europe is beginning to see some of the more concrete outcomes of the UK’s departure from the bloc.

Those include – according to the New Financial report – more than 440 firms in the UK banking and finance industry having responded to Brexit by relocating part of their business, moving some personnel, or setting up new entities in the EU.

According to the think tank, banks are moving or have moved over £900 billion in assets from the UK to the EU, while insurance firms and asset managers have transferred assets and funds amounting to more than £100 billion.

New Financial said that when it published its first report on the impact of Brexit in March 2019, it identified 269 firms that had relocated something. Fast-forwarding to April 2021, the social enterprise observed that it had since identified another 170 firms in the banking and finance sector that had moved something as a consequence of Brexit.

As for the other parts of the EU that have most benefitted in terms of attracting business from the UK post Brexit, Dublin topped the list, with 135 firms, accounting for 25% of all moves the think tank identified. The Irish capital was followed in the ranking by Paris with 102 firms, Luxembourg with 93, Frankfurt with 62, and Amsterdam on 48.

Where next for UK financial services in the aftermath of Brexit?

While the report largely reads gloomily from the perspective of the financial services sector in the UK, there were nonetheless some sources of solace in the findings.

New Financial said that even amid the moves from the UK to the EU it had observed so far, there was “no question” that London would remain Europe’s dominant financial centre “for the foreseeable future.”

The think tank said that “firms are keen to keep as much of their business in London as possible and even the biggest relocations represent a maximum of 10% (so far) of the headcount at individual firms.” The organisation also noted that the movements were not entirely one-way traffic, estimating that “around 300 to 500 mainly smaller firms may open an office in the UK”.

The think tank added, however, that “the shift in business, assets and legal entities will gradually chip away at the UK’s influence in the banking and finance industry in Europe and around the world, as a greater proportion of business is authorised by and conducted in the EU.”

Looking forward, the organisation also observed: “The ‘good’ news is that the extent of this relocation activity means that most firms in the UK that need continued access to clients and markets in the EU now have it.

“With that access in hand, this is perhaps an opportunity to draw a line in the sand, treat Brexit as a sunk cost, and move beyond the debate of the past few years of how closely the UK should remain aligned to the EU in exchange for more access to EU markets.”

As the think tank regarded such access as “unlikely to be forthcoming”, it suggested that “it is perhaps better for the industry to take the damage from Brexit on the chin and focus instead on recalibrating the framework in the UK so that it is more tailored to the unique nature of the UK financial services industry.”

Prepare your business for success in the 2020s with our help

Brexit may mean many different things to many different people, but some things don’t change for UK firms. One of those is the key impact the right company secretarial suport can have on the fulfilment of their compliance, productivity and growth objectives.

Enquire to the London Registrars team today, and we will be pleased to have a more in-depth conversation with you about the possibilities for how we could work together.

July 2021

Tribunal finds against worker’s coronavirus ‘automatic unfair dismissal’ claim

An employment tribunal has found that an employee who claimed to have felt uncomfortable commuting to and attending the office during lockdown and requested to be furloughed was not automatically unfairly dismissed under the Employment Rights Act 1996, section 100(1)(e).

Dismissed by email after repeatedly asking for furlough

Mr Accattatis was employed by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) seller and distributor Fortuna Group (London) Ltd. On multiple occasions during March and April 2020, he asked to be permitted to work from home or be placed on furlough, reasoning that he wasn’t comfortable using public transport and working in the office.

He was told by Fortuna that it was not possible for his job to be done from home, and that the business was too busy to be able to furlough him. The company instead gave him the option of taking holiday or unpaid leave.

After turning down this offer, Mr Accattatis made three more requests to be furloughed. After he asked for the final time on 21 April 2020, he was dismissed by email later that day.

An instructive case for employers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis

As Mr Accattatis did not have enough service to claim ordinary unfair dismissal, he instead alleged that he had been subject to automatic unfair dismissal under section 100(1)(e) of the aforementioned Act for having taken steps to protect himself from danger.

The tribunal noted the government’s statement on 14 February 2020 that COVID-19 represented a serious and imminent threat to public health. This, along with emails from Mr Accattatis voicing concern about commuting to and attending the office, showed his reasonable belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger.

However, the referenced section of the Act also included a requirement for Mr Accattatis to have taken appropriate steps to shield himself from danger or to have communicated the circumstances of danger to his employer. Fortuna had reached the reasonable conclusion that Mr Accattatis’s job could not be done from home and that he did not qualify for furlough, but had instead proposed the option to him of taking holiday or unpaid leave.

In response, Mr Accattatis not only requested that he be able to stay at home – which was agreed – but also demanded to be permitted to work from home on full pay or be furloughed on 80% of pay. As these demands were not appropriate steps to shield himself from danger, his claim was unsuccessful.

The tribunal outcome was not binding, but nonetheless serves as a reminder that the pandemic, in isolation, may not be sufficient to warrant a refusal to work under section 100(1)(e) of the 1996 Act, if employers have reasonably attempted to accommodate the concerns of their workers and lower the risk of transmission.

Contact us now about our company secretarial solutions

London Registrars’ services to help organisations through the effects of the pandemic – and beyond – are extensive, encompassing such solutions as registered office addresses, directors’ service addresses, register of shareholder maintenance, minute book maintenance, and much more.

To learn more about what we can offer to your business to aid its corporate governance, risk and compliance efforts, please don’t wait to get in touch with our friendly and responsive team.

June 2021

The aspects of the Queen’s Speech that are particularly relevant to commercial organisations

On 11 May the Queen delivered her speech marking the State Opening of Parliament. The usual ceremonial elements having been toned down in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest Queen’s Speech already looked somewhat different to previous ones, even before Her Majesty began to outline her government’s priorities for the months to come.

There were also many elements of the eventual speech that were of particular interest to commercial entities like those making use of our own company secretarial practice for PLCs.

Below, then, are some of the most pertinent points for such firms, as detailed in the Queen’s Speech itself and the accompanying briefing notes.

  • Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill. This Bill will require manufacturers, distributors and importers of smart devices to comply with minimum security standards in order to guard against cyber attacks. It will also lay out new powers of enforcement, and provide a regulatory framework that is adaptable to technological advances.
  • Subsidy Control Bill. This is intended to put in place UK-wide principles that public authorities will be required to follow when granting subsidies, replacing the European Union (EU)’s state aid regime. It will impose a need on public authorities to upload information on subsidies to a new nationwide database. In addition, an independent subsidy control body will be set up, providing for judicial oversight of subsidy grants.
  • Procurement Bill. This aims to put in place three modern procedures to simplify the public procurement regime in the UK. It will mean buyers needing to comply with the government’s new National Procurement Policy Statement. The bill will also set up a single data platform for supplier registration, while addressing supplier fraud, reforming the process by which procurement decisions are challenged, and capping the level of damages that bidders can access, in order to minimise speculative claims.
  • National Insurance Contributions Bill. As part of the government’s approach to trade after Brexit, this bill will give employers in freeports the benefit of National Insurance contributions relief.
  • Health and Care Bill. Those involved in advertising law are likely to be especially interested in this bill that will ban adverts for junk food before the 9pm watershed on TV, in addition to implementing a total online ban.
  • Environment Bill. Along with other environmental protection steps contained within this bill, some businesses will need to pay close attention to new measures to extend producer responsibility and new powers in relation to product labelling.
  • Online Safety Bill. This bill didn’t complete its passage in the previous Parliamentary session, but will continue in the new one. It will designate Ofcom as the independent regulator for online safety, handing it powers to issue fines of as much as £18 million or 10% of annual global turnover – whichever is greater. It will also mean companies having a duty of care to enhance user safety online, particularly for children. Major platforms will also be required to clearly set out in their terms and conditions what legal content is unacceptable on their platform, allow users to report unacceptable content, and tackle online misinformation.

Are you on the lookout for capable and informed professionals who can give your firm the benefit of the highest standard of company secretarial practice for PLCs? If so, please don’t hesitate to enquire to our experts at London Registrars, so that we can discuss how we could best serve your organisation’s needs – whatever the months ahead bring.

June 2021

Guarding against money laundering and its risks to the UK and global economy

Anyone and everyone who takes seriously the importance of protecting the UK’s national security, prosperity and reputation abroad must be mindful of the threat that money laundering poses.

The financial sector is of critical importance to the UK economy. It is because of this that money laundering, especially at the higher end involving the laundering of significant amounts of illicit funds through the financial and professional services industries, is a particular concern.

Here at London Registrars, we constantly strive to ensure we are playing our part in stopping the flow of illicit finances arising from criminal activity both at home and overseas.

Why is money laundering a particular threat in the UK?

The UK takes pride in offering an active and dynamic environment in which to set up a business, with relatively few restrictions on entrepreneurs and business owners.

However, it is also the sheer ease with which one can establish a UK business that has long proved a magnet for criminals. Wrongdoers are motivated to set up companies – both in the UK and abroad – that are seemingly legitimate at first glance, but which actually serve mainly as mechanisms for the laundering of illicit funds.

Criminals also regularly seize upon the lucrative property market in the UK, especially in London. Money laundered in this part of the world frequently represents the proceeds of crime that occurred in another country, with major financial centres being alluring transit points or destinations for these proceeds.

When criminal money is detected flowing in large volumes through the UK, authorities in the UK, EU and US can choose to take action with criminal and regulatory penalties. This, however, could increase the chances of major financial institutions collapsing or ending their presence in the UK.

Almost all high-end money laundering, as well as much cash-based money laundering, is made possible by the abuse of legitimate services and processes. A small minority of people can pose a profound threat to national financial systems by taking advantage of unwitting, negligent or even complicit professionals in such fields as accounting, the law, and real estate.

Money launderers often assume roles as intermediaries. In doing so, they may draft documentation, disseminate funds, and facilitate the creation of highly sophisticated structures for the movement and storage of large volumes of illicit funds, while making it difficult to ascertain who actually owns this money.

The diligent anti-money-laundering policies of London Registrars

The aforementioned issues help explain why, in our core services of assisting with the incorporation of new companies and offering company secretarial subscriptions, our own business has to remain vigilant and adhere strictly to the latest anti-money-laundering regulations. This includes undertaking such sensitive tasks as carefully checking IDs and proof of addresses before accepting new clients.

To learn more about the wide range of measures we adopt to help guard against illegal activity, as well as to discuss the business formation and support solutions from which you could benefit, please don’t wait any longer to get in touch with the London Registrars team.

May 2021