Draft Bill for new register of foreign companies owning UK property

Draft Bill for new register of foreign companies owning UK property

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill proposes a number of measures which mean overseas companies will have to register in a public register if they want to acquire land in the UK. The proposals are currently out for public consultation. Jonathan Edwards, specialising in company law at Radcliffe Chambers, outlines the BEIS proposals and comments on what the final outputs could look like.

Original news

The government has published in draft the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill, setting out provisions to establish a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. The draft Bill is open for consultation until 17 September 2018. As announced in January, the government intends the register to become operational in 2021.

What is the draft Bill about and what is it intended to address?

The draft Bill sets out provisions to establish a new register of overseas entities and their beneficial ownership and to require any overseas entity that owns UK property to be entered in the register. This follows the commitment made at the Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016 to establish such a register in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. The information aspects of the new register are intended to mirror the regime currently in place for UK entities subject to the ‘persons of significant control’ regime (PSC) introduced by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.

What are the key provisions of the Bill?

Clause 3 establishes a new ‘Register of overseas entities’, which Companies House for England and Wales will have responsibility to maintain, and Clause 4 and Schedule 1 require the following details to be registered for each overseas entity:

  • name of entity and country of incorporation or formation
  • registered or principal office

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About the author:

Meet Neil:

1. Banking and finance lawyer with particular experience in asset finance

2. Likes Wales, wine, sport and anything else that means he doesn’t have the time to have to write personal information about himself

3. Thinks the law is a far broader topic than any of his family and friends who do not work in law

Neil specialises in banking and asset finance transactions with a particular emphasis in finance for shipping, aviation and renewable energy, as well as providing corporate transactional support. He trained and qualified at TLT LLP and spent a further four years working as a finance solicitor, acting for borrowers and lenders before joining the Asset Finance team at DLA Piper (UK) LLP.