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Company Secretarial Service: Person with Significant Control (PSC) at a glance

May 9, 2024

In the intricate web of business operations, the role of company secretarial services often remains in the shadows despite its crucial significance. Yet, it’s a linchpin in ensuring a company’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, particularly in identifying and managing Persons with Significant Control (PSC). Let’s delve into the intricacies of these vital functions and their importance in the corporate landscape.

The Role of Company Secretarial Services

Company secretarial services encompass a broad spectrum of administrative and compliance duties essential for maintaining the integrity and legality of a company’s operations. Traditionally, this role involves ensuring adherence to company law, managing statutory registers, and facilitating communication between the company and its shareholders and regulatory bodies.

The Intersection of Company Secretarial Services and PSC

The responsibilities of company secretarial services often intersect with the requirements related to identifying and managing Persons with Significant Control. Company secretaries are typically tasked with maintaining the PSC register and ensuring its accuracy and compliance with regulatory mandates.

This entails not only identifying individuals or entities that qualify as PSCs but also keeping abreast of any changes in their status or control arrangements. Furthermore, company secretaries play a vital role in facilitating communication between the company and PSCs, particularly regarding disclosure requirements and the exercise of rights and obligations.

Effective collaboration between company secretarial services and other stakeholders, such as legal advisors and compliance officers, is essential for ensuring comprehensive PSC identification and management processes. This involves implementing robust due diligence measures, conducting regular audits of PSC registers, and promptly updating relevant disclosures in accordance with regulatory updates.

By integrating PSC identification and management into their broader suite of services, company secretarial providers can help companies navigate the complexities of regulatory compliance while enhancing transparency and accountability across their operations.

Understanding Persons with Significant Control (PSC)

The concept of Persons with Significant Control (PSC) emerged as part of global efforts to enhance corporate transparency and combat financial crime, money laundering, and tax evasion. A PSC is an individual or entity that exerts significant influence or control over a company, either directly or indirectly.

Identifying PSCs is crucial for understanding the ownership and control structure of a company and for combating illicit activities such as money laundering and tax evasion.

Company Secretarial Services: Compliance Requirements for Companies

In the United Kingdom, companies are legally obligated to identify and maintain a register of their Significant Controllers. This requirement aims to enhance corporate transparency and combat financial crimes effectively. To comply with these regulations, companies must take the following steps:

1. Identifying Significant Controllers:

        The first step is to identify individuals or entities that hold significant control over the company. This includes those with more than 25% ownership of shares or voting rights, the ability to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors, or significant influence or control over the company’s management.

        2. Verification and Documentation:

        Once identified, companies must verify the accuracy of the information regarding their significant controllers and maintain comprehensive documentation to support their findings. This documentation should include details such as the nature and extent of control or influence held by the identified individuals or entities.

        3. Recording Information on the Register:

        Companies are required to maintain a register of their Significant Controllers, commonly known as the PSC register. This register must contain specific information about each significant controller, including their name, date of birth, nationality, residential address, and details of their significant control or influence over the company.

        4. Updating the Register:

        It’s essential for companies to keep their PSC register up to date by regularly reviewing and updating the information contained therein. Any changes in significant control or influence must be recorded promptly, ensuring the register reflects the current state of affairs accurately.

        5. Public Disclosure:

        Certain information from the PSC register must be disclosed to the public and filed with the Companies House, the registrar of companies in the UK. This information typically includes the names and details of significant controllers, although sensitive information such as residential addresses may be withheld from public disclosure to protect individuals’ privacy and security.

        Identifying Significant Controllers

        Identifying significant controllers requires a thorough examination of the company’s ownership structure and governance arrangements. Key indicators of significant control include:

        • Ownership of Shares or Voting Rights: Individuals or entities holding more than 25% of the company’s shares or voting rights are likely to have significant control.
        • Appointment of Directors: Those with the power to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors can exert significant influence over the company’s decisions.
        • Direct or Indirect Control: Significant control can be exercised directly through ownership or indirectly through agreements, trusts, or other arrangements.
        • Influence over Decision Making: Individuals with the ability to influence or control the company’s management, finances, or strategic direction are considered significant controllers.

        As regulatory landscapes continue to evolve and demands for transparency increase, the importance of robust company secretarial services and PSC management cannot be overstated. Companies must prioritise these areas to not only comply with legal and regulatory requirements but also to safeguard their reputation and build trust among stakeholders in an increasingly scrutinised business environment.

        For further information on our services, visit the Corporate Secretarial page.

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