The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (“ECCTA”) received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023 aiming to prevent money laundering and financial crime.
A central tenet of its enforcement program is to give Companies House (up until now a passive registrar of corporate information) the new objective of improving and checking the transparency and accuracy of the information companies provide in its registers.
Anita Clifford commented: “The Act radically expands the powers of Companies House and gives it an express new objective to maintain the integrity of the companies register. This is long overdue given the persistent concerns about the accuracy of material appearing on the register which is absolutely vital for corporate transparency. The Act also heightens the profile of Companies House as a prosecutor, establishing new offences of making a false statement to Companies House. In practice, the prosecuting powers of Companies House are overlooked which has led to queries about whether it can cope with a higher prosecution profile. The reality is that Companies House, based in Cardiff, is an active prosecutor of companies and directors and has experience. One issue however is that it has a conviction rate hovering just over 50%. There will be a need to improve on this and I would expect that other agencies such as those within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will provide support and share expertise as Companies House tackles cases bigger than a failure to file accounts on time. I would also anticipate Companies House will need to launch a recruitment drive to build up its base of experienced prosecutors.”
More analysis here: [Compliance Week] Page 3 of 4 “experience.”
Anita Clifford has a strong financial crime practice and advises on anti-money laundering investigations and regulatory requirements, suspicious activity reporting and account freezing and is a ranked junior for POCA work in both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. She is also a contributor to the Lloyd’s Law Reports: Financial Crime: [Anita Clifford Profile]