Companies House considering tougher ID checks

Companies House considering tougher ID checks

Companies House is considering introducing new checks in an effort to protect consumers and catch out potential fraudsters, Money Observer understands.

Companies House is the government-run register of all active companies in the UK. It provides directorship and address details and in some cases also provides financial results or other information.

In an investigation into the sale of overpriced and illiquid carbon credits and other unregulated investments to vulnerable investors, Money Observer found that although there are authorities who can shut companies down for shady practices, unscrupulous salespeople can largely escape personal consequences by dissolving one firm and quickly setting up another.

These 'pop up' companies might have no physical office, and their directors can even use fake names.

strict guidelines

This is because Companies House has no system in place to verify the identity or address of a would-be fledgling firm.

A spokesperson for Companies House tells Money Observer: 'We work under the strict guidelines of the Companies Act. At the moment we have no investigatory power. We accept everything in good faith so there is no verification of the documents we receive as long as they have been correctly completed.'

However, she adds that the organisation is currently looking at options to enhance the integrity of its listings, and prevent people from exploiting the lack of identity and address verification checks.

The new system could take the form of an 'integrity register', which could act like a 'whitelist' of directors who have proved they are who they say they are.

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Under present legislation -

Under present legislation - Companies House have no authority to request verification of identity when somebody applies to incorporate a company - there is simply nothing in the Companies Acts of 1985, 1989 or 2006 that requires them to do so. In other words if a would be director was challenged for identification documents or proof of residence - the applicant would be completely within their rights to decline on the grounds that it would be wrong in law. I am sorry that you have been ripped off - but it is not the fault of Companies House - the fault surely lies with the politicians who drew up the Companies Act. Similarly there is no legal requirement to provide proof that a company is actually based at its registered office address - all document s sent to Companies House - provided that they have been completed correctly are accepted in good faith.

Company House is CONSIDERING

Company House is CONSIDERING tougher ID checks. WOW. And how long has this taken and they are only considering. Here's the story. I went into Company House in May this year to do a search on a company that had ripped me off of £159,000 by selling me 5 diamonds that were worth less than £20,000. Abacus Advisory Limited under the director of Philip Clarke. They were meant to sell my diamonds for just over £200,000 and I have a letter to prove their intent and that they already had a buy. I knew all this before I bought the last two diamonds in March 2014. Yet on the March 30th they had requested to Strike Out. I was told by Abacus that they were merging with another company. Then I found out that they were liquidating. Initially I did a search online at Company House and paid for a few documents that showed the name of the Director - Philip Clarke - and his address in Spain (which really worried me). I did this online search in April but decided to actually go to Company House to check on more details. I asked there whether they had verification as to the name and address of the director. Answer: No. I asked whether they make any checks. Answer: No. So I did a search at the Land registry in Spain and firstly the address written on the Company House registration has 3 spelling mistakes and one letter (an L) is written as a C (there were 2 Cs in a row and the first one looks like the second even though the first one should have been an L. This address was written incorrectly on purpose. Secondly, I found out that Philip Clarke does not live at this address at all nor did he. So now he has no fixed assets with which to make a claim against him in court. Meanwhile, via the Sottish Herald and via my own Blog I have discovered 5 other people who have been conned by Abacus or Philip Clarke. Action Fraud are do nothing to charge these guys ( a few of them involved) and if they've left the country they have gotten away with in total about £260,000 and there may be more guys out their who have been scammed. I don't even know if my diamonds are worth the £20,000 estimated by a diamond merchant as the GIA certificates that he saw could also be forged. They may be just pieces of glass. The fact is Company House, by not making proper checks have left us as victims of scams that could have been prevented. Abacus set up their so called office at St Johns street in London. Their address is written as such and such a suite, lower Ground Floor, St Johns Street etc. I went there and there is no such office. I should have gone there before buying my first diamond. All it is is a mailing address which I never used as I sent everything via email. It appears on their website (which they took down soon as they liquidated, as they did with their email address and telephone number so you couldn't contact them) and it appears on all their letters and you think they have an office in London but they don't and company house does nothing to check that they have an office and are not just boiler room investment companies. I'm discussed with the system. I'm discussed that people have been scammed by companies needlessly if only Company House made proper checks. No doubt the director, Philip Clarke will start another company in another country and use a different name and address and get to scam more victims in selling diamonds and Carbon Credits etc. I hope company house get it hat together quickly and not CONSIDER making checks but INSIST on making checks.

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