A new set of regulations came into force on 6 April 2016 whereby all UK companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) must (with some very limited exceptions), maintain a register of People with Significant Control (PSCs) over their entity. The PSC register must never be empty but must contain the relevant statutory wording from the regulations. Annual returns (now called confirmation statements) submitted after 30 June 2016 require the submission of PSC information, meaning that it will now be publically available.
An organisation must take reasonable steps to identify its PSCs and to enforce the disclosure of information or the directors may face imprisonment and/or a fine. PSCs failing to provide an organisation with the detail required by a disclosure notice can face restrictions on their rights such as their right to vote, receive dividends or on their ability to transfer ownership.
While customers and suppliers will normally fall within an exception to being a PSC, it is possible for major customer or suppliers to be a named on the public register as PSC of a supplier or a customer, where its role goes beyond that which is normal for that of a customer. For example, where a prime is directing operations of a key supplier to ensure continuity of supply, it could fall within the definition of a PSC, and so would have an obligation to supply the relevant information to the supplier, to avoid committing a criminal offence.
We would strongly recommend that organisations proactively determine their PSCs as soon as possible, if this has not already been done, in order to be compliant with the regulations.
Given the complexity of the regulations, we have helped our aerospace and defence clients to identify their PSCs.