In 2016, the UK government introduced the PSC regime as part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act. The PSC regime is designed to increase transparency around corporate ownership and control, and to make it harder for individuals or companies to hide behind complex corporate structures.
Under the PSC regime, companies are required to identify and report PSCs to Companies House, which maintains a public register of PSCs. A Person of Significant Control can be an individual or a company that has significant influence or control over a UK company.
There are five conditions that determine whether an individual or company is a PSC:
- Direct or indirect ownership of more than 25% of a company's shares
- Direct or indirect control over more than 25% of a company's voting rights
- Direct or indirect right to appoint or remove a majority of a company's board of directors
- Significantly influences a company's management or policies
- Has significant influence or control over a trust or firm that meets any of the other four conditions.
- Companies are required to keep a register of PSCs, which must be updated annually and whenever there is a change in the PSCs. The register must include details such as the PSC's name, date of birth, nationality, and address, as well as the nature of their control or influence over the company.
The PSC register is publicly accessible, and anyone can access the information held on it by paying a small fee. The purpose of the register is to increase transparency around corporate ownership and control, and to make it easier for law enforcement agencies and other organisations to identify and investigate suspicious activity. Failure to comply with the PSC regime can result in fines or even criminal sanctions, so it is important for companies to ensure that they understand their obligations under the regime and comply with them fully.