R3 welcomes the announcement of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill

Responding to the confirmation of a new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, which was announced in today’s Queen’s Speech, Christina Fitzgerald, President of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, said: “The Government has taken a major step forward in its plans to reform Companies House – something we have long campaigned for – by announcing it will legislate for these changes through the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill during this parliamentary session.

“Reform of Companies House is critical to the insolvency and restructuring profession’s efforts in the fight against fraud, and will be hugely beneficial to our profession’s work to recoup funds fraudulently claimed under the Government’s COVID support schemes.

“However, this legislation needs to be introduced quickly and there are some issues that need to be resolved before the Bill reaches the Statute Book. When appointed to deal with an insolvent company, insolvency practitioners need to be given automatic access to all of the information captured by Companies House about the company and its directors. This isn’t part of the Bill at the moment, but making access to this information automatic would make it easier to investigate director misconduct and uncover assets for the benefit of the company’s creditors.

“Despite these issues, the clear commitment the Government has made to reform Companies House is welcome. These reforms will benefit victims of fraud, creditors and the wider economy once they are introduced – something we hope will happen as soon as possible.”