The government has announced reforms to Companies House which will clamp down on fraud and money laundering. The changes aim to increase the reliability of the data showing who is behind each company so that businesses and individuals have greater assurance when consulting the register to research potential suppliers and partners.
The two main changes are:
- Compulsory identity verification to be introduced to help trace people who are committing fraud or money laundering
- Companies House will be given greater powers to query, investigate and remove false information
The reforms will also improve the ability of law enforcement agencies, such as the National Crime Agency, to trace their activity for suspected fraud or money laundering. Identity verification will take place through a fast, efficient, digital process and is expected to take a matter of minutes.
According to the government, the changes will not impact on the typical speed at which a company or organisation is formed and other filings are completed. Most companies will be able to be incorporated easily within 24 hours as is the case now.