Much has been written about the 2023 Economic Crime & Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) with much technical discussion and commentary. The ECCTA outlines a range of measures aimed at cracking down further on the abuse of UK corporate structures and tackling economic crime which will result in several new requirements and changes to Companies House filings for UK entities.

Whilst the ECCTA is now law, most changes will be introduced over the course of the coming one to two years, allowing for secondary legislation and the necessary significant reform of the systems within Companies House to enable UK entities to discharge their new duties under the ECCTA.

The first changes are expected to come into force from 4 March 2024 (or soon after), subject to the passing of the secondary legislation through Parliament. They relate to:

  • the enhanced Registrar’s powers (namely, the ability to question information and require more evidence, the ability to annotate the register if there is confusing or misleading information, being able to clean up the register and sharing information with other government departments or law enforcement agencies);
  • the changes to registered office addresses and the introduction of new email addresses;
  • stronger checks on company names; and
  • the requirement for all companies to confirm they’re forming the company for a lawful purpose when they incorporate, and to confirm its intended future activities will be lawful on their confirmation statement.

We have been approached by many of our clients to help them navigate the practical steps needed to get ahead of the coming changes (both on 4 March and changes thereafter) and, whilst the finer detail of future changes is still unclear, the following five actions may help companies to be ready.

ECCTA 2023 – Five practical actions

1. Choose an appropriate email address for your group entities and implement an inbox monitoring process.

You can use the same address for multiple entities and  where there is no central management of group entities , consider who manages the entities and whether the email sits with different divisions or centrally. It is also important that the address will be regularly monitored to pick up correspondence from Companies House. We provide an appropriate email address service for our annuity clients where we will receive, monitor and share any correspondence received.  

2. Ensure all your UK entities’ registered office addresses are at an “appropriate” address.

If this is not the case, now is the time to update the addresses accordingly to ensure that any document sent to that address will come to the attention of the person/people acting on behalf of the company. Remember PO Box addresses won’t be permitted. Should you require it, we have an established registered office service for our annuity clients, where we will receive and post and send it to them.

3. Consider Conducting a UK Entity Health Check.

Review filings at Companies House and ensure they are accurate and reflect  the current position of the company. If you identify any outstanding issues, ensure you fix them sooner rather than later as rectification is expected to be more challenging from March 2024.

If support is needed, we provide our clients with a comprehensive and robust four-stage corporate health check to verify compliance and validate your corporate data in our Global Entity Management (GEMs) software.

4. Prepare for the I.D. verification changes by pulling together a list of everyone in the business whose identity will need to be verified.

This will include Directors, PSCs, Company Secretaries and those filing on behalf of the company. Valid ID documents need to be ready for when these changes are implemented. For our existing GEMS clients, this can be done easily, or we can do it for you.

5. Review your preparation and Companies House filing processes to ensure quality assurance.

In particular, it is important to understand how you review and file your forms and if processes don’t exist already, implement a four-eye review/QA step to ensure accuracy. We support clients with filings at Companies House and we have a tried and tested four-eye and QA process if support is needed in this area.

We hope these practical tips will be useful in helping prepare for the coming changes and we’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or questions. Our team is always ready to help.

Whilst we are focused on supporting the practical readiness for the ECCTA, it would be remiss of us to overlook the Act itself, so please read on for our easily digestible commentary on the provisions and key changes.

Summary of provisions and key changes

The ECCTA received Royal Assent on 26 October 2023. The ECCTA introduces a wide range of reforms to address economic crime and enhance transparency in corporate entities. The reforms specifically focus on improving the role of Companies House with the aim of enhancing the business environment in the UK and ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the data which it manages. Some of the key changes include identity verification for directors and persons with significant control (“PSCs”), limiting who can file documents at Companies House on behalf of companies to specific individuals and corporates. It also introduces a new registered email address and better defines registered office requirements as well as changing requirements regarding record keeping by abolishing the need to hold certain registers internally.

1. Company formation

Several changes relating to the formation of a company are set out in the ECCTA, including:

  • a new requirement to include an express statement in the registration application that the company’s purposes will be lawful;
  • subscribers will need to set out their full name (forename and surname) and will need to confirm that they are not disqualified directors;
  • stronger checks on company names (see 5 below); and
  • identity verification will apply to directors and PSCs (see 2 below).

2. Identity verification

Compulsory identity verification has been introduced for directors, PSCs and those delivering documents to Companies House. Directors and PSCs of new companies will need to have their identity verified prior to the formation of the company and existing companies will have a transitional period in which to verify their identities. New directors of existing UK companies will not be able to become directors until their entity has been verified. The verification can be undertaken either directly via Companies House or through an authorised corporate service provider (“ACSP”), who will themselves need to be verified.

The ECCTA will make it a criminal offence for:

  • an individual to act as a director unless their identity is verified; and
  • a company, where it allows a director to act prior to identity verification.

3. Filing documents at Companies House

The ECCTA limits who can file documents at Companies House on behalf of companies to individuals whose identification has been verified or to ACSPs. Where companies or limited liability partnerships want to file their own documents, they will have to do it through their directors, company secretary or an employee only if they have been ID verified. Alternatively, an ACSP may be used.

4. Enhanced Registrars’ Powers (including investigative powers)

The ECCTA has reformed Companies House from a passive recipient of information to an active gatekeeper and provides it with more powers to query/remove information, require electronic filing, and a better ability to share information with law enforcement agencies. It is expected that the power to question information will be used sparingly. We await to receive further guidance to better understand these powers and their application.

5. Company names

Companies House will have greater powers to query company names which appear suspicious or anomalous and could be used to facilitate crimes or suggest a false connection with a foreign government or international organisation. The principle behind this reform is to maintain the integrity of the public register and increase trust in the UK business environment.

6. Registered office and email address

Companies will need to ensure that their registered office is at an “appropriate address” and for the first time will also need to register an “appropriate email address”.

“Appropriate” means an address where, “in the ordinary course of events”, a document or an email sent to that address would be “expected to come to the attention of the person acting on behalf of the company". The registered office change will probably not impact too many companies but those who use a PO Box or an unstaffed address will need to change to somewhere which satisfies the new requirements. Companies House will also have the powers to change the registered office if it is not satisfied that it meets the relevant requirements.

The email address is a welcome update and will allow Companies House to communicate electronically with companies. The email address will be kept off the public register. 

7. Abolition of need to maintain certain internal registers

The ECCTA abolishes the need for companies to maintain their own registers of directors, directors’ residential addresses, secretaries and PSCs. Therefore, the general public will rely on the central records at Companies House for the most current position. The ECCTA is not clear what will happen to these registers once the changes take effect, but we expect that many companies will continue to maintain these registers for their own records.

8. Greater transparency of company ownership

The ECCTA aims to improve transparency requirements of companies by, for example, increasing the usefulness of the information held on the members so there is more certainty as to who business is being done with, creating integrity of the companies register and preventing people from exploiting the register. Some of the changes include:

  • recording the full names of shareholders (not just an initial and a surname) who are individuals or the names of corporate members and firms in their registers;
  • including a full list of shareholder names in the next confirmation statement;
  • traded and non-traded companies will need to provide a one-off shareholder list to Companies House via a confirmation statement, to be delivered on the first occasion on which a company delivers a confirmation statement with a confirmation date that is after the day on which the new requirement comes into force; and
  • imposing duties on members to provide their information to companies and keep it up to date.

9. Financial information reporting

The ECCTA modifies the reporting of certain financial information to Companies House, including:

  • all small companies and micro-entities will no longer be able to file abridged accounts and will have to file their profit and loss account. Small companies will be required to file their directors’ report but micro entities will have the option to not prepare or file a directors’ report; and
  • companies relying on an audit exemption will, in their balance sheet, need to provide an additional statement by the directors identifying the exemption they are relying on and confirm that the company meets the qualifying criteria.

It is expected that further changes will be made in the future (timing not yet known) to include, mandatory digital filing, full tagging of financial information in iXBRL format and a reduction in the number of times a company can shorten its accounting reference period. This is to make a drive towards a fully digital service.

10. Corporate directors

In 2015, the Companies Act 2006 was amended to ban corporate directors but these changes never came into force. The Government has said that it intends to implement, in parallel with the implementation of the ECCTA, restrictions on a UK company having corporate directors in order to increase the transparency around those who run the company. However, the intention is not to ban corporate directors altogether; a company (A) can have a corporate director (B) if all of company B’s directors are natural persons whose identities have been verified.

11. Protection of personal information

The ECCTA has tried to balance the increase in transparency by extending the options when individuals can request for the suppression of certain information from the public. The details of who will be able to apply for suppression and the related process will be set out in future regulation.

12. Limited Partnerships

The ECCTA also contains major changes relating to how limited partnerships (“LPs”) are regulated with the idea of better tackling abuse. Historically, very limited information has been publicly filed about LPs and they have therefore been open to abuse. The reforms include tighter registration requirements, requirements to submit more information to Companies House, including annual confirmations, and maintenance of a connection to the UK through an “appropriate” registered office address required (imposing additional requirements to those relating to companies).

13. Other changes

It is worth noting that the ECCTA includes additional provisions applying to the registration of overseas entities, the use and management of crypto assets and anti-money laundering powers.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the EECTA and its impact on your business. If needed, our team of experts are ready to support with practical and detailed advice, please do get in touch with Georgina Milis, Director, Computershare Governance Services, UK at or Gemma Flannery-Pratt, Manager, Computershare Governance Services, UK at


At Computershare, we help our clients establish an effective global entity governance and compliance framework, fulfil compliance obligations, and improve stakeholder engagement across their footprint. Our entity governance and compliance solutions reduce operational complexity, release management time and make it easier to gain assurance that your entities are under control – wherever they are in the world.

This notice is provided by Computershare for general informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal, regulatory, financial or tax advice. Computershare is not licensed or authorised to practice law in any jurisdictions and hence does not provide any legal advice and it does not hold itself out as doing so. Neither Computershare nor any of its affiliates or contributors accept any responsibility or liability for the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this notice. It is important that you seek independent professional advice relating to the subject matter of this notice before relying on it.