New UK transparency rules enable activists

Author: Lizzie Meager | Published: 4 Jan 2016

The UK’s new mandatory disclosure rules for unlisted companies are at best another compliance hoop to jump through. But at their worst, they could be a deterrent to investment.

The rules require that unlisted UK-incorporated companies compile a register detailing their ultimate owners. From April 2016, this must then be filed with the Registrar of Companies to be made publicly available.

For many companies this is a straightforward exercise, but for others, tracking down distant and sometimes anonymous investors could prove challenging.

"I suspect it may be difficult for some companies, but it’s really something they should be disclosing anyway," said Oliver Parry, a senior corporate governance adviser at the Institute of Directors. "My only criticism is...