Forthcoming changes for companies

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act recently received Royal Assent. All companies will be affected and some of the significant forthcoming changes are as follows:

26 May 2015 – Bearer Shares

Bearer shares will be abolished.

Bearer shares are similar to registered shares giving the holder an entitlement to the profits of a company and the right to vote at general meetings if certain conditions are met. However unlike ordinary shares, the name of the owner of a bearer share is not recorded in the register of the company. This means bearer shares can be sold without any necessity to notify the company registrar.

October 2015 – Corporate Directors and Striking-Off

From October 2015 it will not be possible to appoint corporate directors except in limited circumstances. Companies with existing corporate directors will need to explain how they meet the conditions for an exception, or give notice to the registrar that the corporate director has ceased to be a director.

The time taken to strike off a company will be reduced. This can currently takes three months from the date a notice is given in the local Gazette but will be reduced to two months.

January 2016 – People with significant control (“PSC”) register

All UK companies (except publicly traded companies) will be required to maintain a register of those people who have significant control over the company. This new register, known as the PSC register, will contain information on individuals who ultimately own or control more than 25% of a company’s shares or voting rights, or who otherwise exercise control over the company and its management.

A company’s PSC register will be available for public inspection and will be searchable online via Companies House.

April 2016 – Annual Return to be abolished

The need to file annual returns will be replaced with a requirement to ‘check and confirm’ the company information and notify changes if necessary at least once every 12 months.

Further information can be found by accessing the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/the-small-business-enterprise-and-employment-bill-is-coming

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/small-business-enterprise-and-employment-bill

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