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Enhancing the transparency of UK company ownership and increasing trust in UK business: Law Society response

20 September 2013

This response sets out the Law Society's view on the transparency and trust proposals in the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) discussion paper.

The proposals cover a wide range in the company and commercial areas, and include the creation of a central registry of beneficial ownership.

Much of the response covers our concerns over:

  • what shape any such registry would take
  • how would a beneficial owner be defined
  • the possibility of unintended consequences eg if only the UK introduces it then businesses may look to incorporate elsewhere

The discussion paper proposes the abolition of bearer shares, which had been anticipated. We are concerned that those with bearer shares should be given sufficient time to convert their holdings to registered shares.

Other proposals include steps in relation to nominee and corporate directors. The response highlights the legislative position on this issue which we hope will clear up any misconceptions.

Director duties and proposals to introduce different duties dependent on sector are also considered, as well as proposals in relation to insolvency practice, directors' disqualification.

Read the full response below.