In a factsheet published on the 22 September, the UK Government set out verification requirements for people looking to register a new company. The Company House directory will include businesses of all sizes to provide assurance of the right to operate in the UK and companies will be able to research potential suppliers and partners.
Directors and senior company executives will be required to confirm their identity with an initial grace period in place for existing directors. There are two forms of identification verification: directly through the Companies House or indirectly through an Authorised Corporate Service Provider.
Facial matching technology will be used in conjunction with a physical identity document which will be compared together for likeness. Documents may also be compared to the national government database to validate the business owner’s identity. Failure to comply with the regulations to permitting or not permitting a grace period could result in legal action being pursued and a number of different outcomes including the application being rejected, civil penalties, a level 5 fine, or the individual being classed as ‘unverified’ on the database.
Unlike existing business directors, the policy framework states there will not be leniency shown to new company executives who must verify their identity prior to an application being sent to the Registrar.
The same standard of identity verification checks will be adhered to by Authorised Corporate Service Providers. Accountants, legal advisers, and company formation agents are most likely to register a company through ACSPs and must be registered with a supervisory body for anti-money laundering reasons and carry out customer due diligence checks.