An introduction to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the SBEEA 2015)

An introduction to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (the SBEEA 2015)
The SBEEA 2015, which received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015, is an incredibly wide-ranging act which affects a miscellany of topics including childcare, education, employment and access to finance as well as company law. This Practice Note takes corporate lawyers through the parts of the SBEEA 2015 that affect companies and amend the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006

).The company law reforms in the SBEEA 2015 can be put into two categories:

  • those which relate to the improvement of transparency and trust in UK companies, and
  • those which relate to the reduction of red-tape, including the simplification of a number of company filing requirements

Most of the company law reforms have not yet commenced and will come into effect by way of statutory instruments that have not yet been published.

Transparency

Against a background of heightened public distrust of companies and their directors in the few years since the financial crisis in 2008, one of the government's key objectives in relation to the SBEEA 2015 was to enhance the UK's reputation as a fair and trusted place to carry on business. In order to achieve this objective, the SBEEA 2015 introduces new requirements for companies that will deter, identify and sanction those that try to hide their interests in UK companies to facilitate illegal activities.The reforms within the SBEEA 2015 that are intended to improve transparency and trust in UK companies are:

  • the creation of a new publicly accessible central register of the individuals who ultimately own and control such companies (people with significant control or PSCs)
  • greater restrictions on the use of corporate directors
  • the extension of the directors' statutory duties to shadow directors, and
  • the abolition of bearer shares

Each of these reforms relating to company transparency are covered in greater detail below.

Reduction of red-tape

The government also intended to reduce red-tape for companies by introducing measures in the SBEEA 2015 to simplify the current filing requirements for companies, remove duplication and

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About the author:
Jenisa is Head of Market Tracker, a transaction analysis product that sits within Lexis®PSL Corporate. She has over 13 years of legal publishing experience, with a focus on researching and reporting on trends and developments in the corporate and commercial legal market. Previous roles include content developer for Lexis®PSL, Legal Podcaster at Informa, and Research Editor at Practical Law Company where she specialised in reporting on cross-border corporate and commercial developments from the firm’s New York office.