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Transparency of beneficial ownership of foreign companies

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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is consulting until 1 April 2016 on proposals to enhance the transparency of beneficial ownership for foreign companies that purchase land or property in England and Wales, or participate in public contracting in England. The aim is to create a level of transparency around foreign companies similar to that being introduced for UK companies from this April with the UK register of people with significant control (PSC).

The government is considering a requirement for foreign companies to provide information on their beneficial ownership before they are able to buy land or property in England or Wales or enter into public procurement contracts.

One option for holding the information would be to establish a further register managed by Companies House, alongside the UK PSC Register. Alternatively, the new register could be operated by another independent public body or a private sector organisation. Under all these options, a foreign company on the register would be provided with a unique identifier number, which would enable it to purchase land or real property in England or Wales or help to facilitate its participation in public contracting in England. As a first step, the Land Registry is publishing a dataset containing the legal owner and addresses of all properties owned in the UK by foreign companies.

The government is considering an exemption for foreign companies incorporated in jurisdictions which already have an accessible central register of beneficial ownership information, to prevent them from having to provide similar information to a UK foreign company beneficial ownership register. See

Issue: 1300
Categories: News