Partner Amjid Jabbar comments in Law360 on the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill’s potential effects on the legal industry.
Amjid’s comments were published in Law360, 26 September 2022, and can be found here.
“The reforms to Companies House set out in the bill represent a major overhaul of the registrar’s powers. The introduction of more stringent identity verification checks on directors, people with significant control and even those delivering documents comes as the government seeks to crack down on undisclosed ultimate beneficial ownership. The government has shown commitment to this clampdown through the introduction of criminal charges, including potential prison time, for failing to comply with identity verification proceedings.
Whilst these reforms represent a key step in corporate transparency, it remains to be seen whether a stronger Companies House has the ability to clamp down on entities used for fraudulent or otherwise illicit purposes. Regulators may well need to do more to tackle financial crime if these measures lack effectiveness.
The removal of the cap will affect the legal industry in its entirety, including major law firms, sole solicitors and other individuals regulated by the SRA. This change highlights the government’s commitment to cracking down on economic crime across the whole British legal industry, which has previously attracted criticism for its associations with allegedly illicit foreign money.”