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When will register of beneficial ownership by overseas companies be introduced?

The government has confirmed to parliament its timetable for the introduction of a public register of beneficial ownership of UK property by overseas entities.

This follows on from the government’s consultation in April 2017 on establishing such a register which we blogged on last year (see here).

In December 2017, the government confirmed that it would be going ahead with the proposed register by committing, in its UK anti-corruption strategy 2017-2022, to publish a draft bill for the establishment of the register.

In his written ministerial statement published earlier this week (on 25 January 2018), Andrew Griffiths (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) announced that the government intends to publish a draft bill before the summer parliamentary recess (before late July 2018), and will introduce the bill to parliament early in the autumn. The government intends the register to be operational in 2021.

The register will require overseas legal entities to provide information on the beneficial ownership of property that they own or purchase in the UK or where they participate in central government contracts.

In the meantime, we await a full government response to the April 2017 consultation although according to yesterday’s statement, that is now expected shortly. It will be interesting to see whether that response fleshes out the detail, failing which we will have to wait for publication of the draft bill later in the year.