The United Kingdom (UK) passed a law in 2016 to increase company transparency. This law stipulates that UK corporate entities must publicly disclose any individuals and legal entities that qualify as a Person with Significant Control (PSC). A PSC—sometimes referred to as a beneficial owner—is an individual who owns or controls a company. Companies can have one or more PSCs.
The law is not retroactive and companies do not have to report PSCs prior to the 2016 legislation. However, if a company cannot identify its PSC or does not have one, it must inform the government, though not the public, as to the reason why.
Who is a Person with Significant Control (PSC)?
A PSC is an individual that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- Holds more than 25 percent of shares
- Holds more than 25 percent of voting rights
- Has the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors
- Has other significant influence or control, either directly or on behalf of another individual or entity
If a PSC holds more than 25 percent of a company’s shares, he or she likely holds an identical amount of the voting rights.
When reporting PSCs, companies must provide personally identifiable information about them. This information includes:
- Date of birth
- Country of residence
- Service address
- Usual residential address
- Date when the became PSC of the company
- Date when the PSC was entered into the register
- Level of control over shares
- Level of control over voting rights
To protect the PSC’s privacy, his or her residential address is hidden from the public view and only the month and year of the date of birth is shown.
When a PSC is a firm or trust, the individual who controls the firm or trust is listed in place of the trust itself.