The EITI Standard requires implementing countries to disclose beneficial ownership information of companies in the extractives sector who are in-scope of EITI.
What is beneficial ownership?
For a legal entity a beneficial owner is an individual who ultimately owns or has significant influence or control over the entity. In the UK, most legal entities covered are companies, a few are partnerships. A company or partnership can have one or more beneficial owner. In the UK beneficial owners are listed on companies’ own records and on the publicly accessible register of people with significant control (PSC) register at Companies House.
Beneficial ownership can be determined in a number of ways, but under the UK regime most beneficial owners are likely to be people who hold:
- more than 25% of shares in the company
- more than 25% of voting rights in the company
- the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors
Beneficial ownership and EITI
The UK meets the vast majority of requirements in the EITI Standard on beneficial ownership through the data systematically disclosed on its People with Significant Control (PSC) register.
Most UK-registered companies are required to submit information on people with significant control (PSC) to Companies House. Publicly listed companies are exempt from PSC requirements because they already provide beneficial ownership information under stock exchange requirements.
Therefore, in order to disclose their beneficial ownership information for EITI reporting, UK-registered companies need only confirm their filing and provide the link to the relevant page at Companies House in their EITI beneficial ownership declaration form. Private companies who have not filed information at Companies House on PSCs should disclose their beneficial ownership information in the EITI beneficial ownership declaration form.
Politically Exposed Persons
The EITI Standard also requires information to be disclosed on politically exposed persons (PEPs).
A full definition of PEPs and a list of prominent public functions in scope can be found in our beneficial ownership guidance for reporting companies.
Information on PEPs is not systematically disclosed to Companies House so private companies are asked to disclose information on any PEPs as part of their EITI reporting. In 2019 reporting, no privately owned companies making material payments under the EITI Standard disclosed politically any PEPs.
The UK People with Significant Control Register
The obligation on companies and partnerships to hold and report PSC information to Companies House commenced in 2016, making the UK register the first publicly accessible company beneficial ownership register in the G20 and one of the first in the world.
The UK PSC register now contains more than 4.9 million names of people with significant control over UK registered companies and partnerships in all sectors of the economy and the information is viewed by national and international stakeholders over 500,000 times a month (data correct as of 27/05/2020). The information is public and free to access alongside core company information from Companies House, the UK companies register, with no requirements to sign in to a service. Search for the company you are interested in and use the 'people' tab to access information about 'People With Significant Control'.
The public nature of the register promotes trust in UK business by enabling companies and individuals to easily identify with whom they are really doing business. Both national and international users see benefits from the register and make frequent use of the data.
If you would like to hear more about the UK PSC register, please contact the UK EITI Secretariat.