PracticeConsultingByers to move on directors’ anonymity

Byers to move on directors' anonymity

The Department of Trade and Industry is in discussions with the Home Office to bring forward legislation allowing company directors to withhold private address details.

Stephen Byers, trade and industry secretary, has a deadline of 6 March to table an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, currently passing through the House of Commons, enabling directors who believe they are at risk to apply for anonymity.

Concern over the protection of directors reached new heights last week following the attack on Huntingdon Life Sciences’ managing director, accountant Brian Cass.

Under existing law, directors are forced to make public their home addresses at Companies House.

Directors’ privacy has formed part of the DTI’s company law review but the final report, whose deadline for responses passed this week, will not be published until late April at the earliest.

One member of the review committee, Richard Sykes QC, chairman of the Financial Reporting Review Panel, hinted that the government could act independently of the review findings.

Others supported the move to greater privacy.

Peter Wyman, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: ‘Personally, I believe directors are entitled to more privacy than they enjoy at the moment. The theory is fine for rogue directors but public access has been badly abused.’

Ken Wilde, technical partner at Deloitte & Touche said: ‘Why do directors need to give a home address? Provided you have a genuine address and not just a letterbox it is still possible to get at them.’

Wyman pointed out it was not just protestors that made use of private address – the media had often been accused of hounding directors’ families.As a result of the protests at HLS, Jack Straw, the home secretary, has announced police are to be given stronger powers to prevent protests by animal rights activists outside the homes of laboratory workers and shareholders in scientific companies.

The Company Law Review discussion document, Completing the Structure, can be downloaded from www.dti.gov.uk/cld/review.htm.

Related Articles

5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

Accounting Software 5 tips for SMEs to protect cash flow

5m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

Consulting Tyrie on Finance Bill 2017: ‘Making Tax Policy Better’

11m Stephanie Wix, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Richard Toone, CVR Global

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

Accounting Firms Deloitte 'self-imposes exile' on government contracts to defuse PM row

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

Accounting Firms Managing partner Q&A - the year ahead: Julie Adams, Menzies

12m Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

Business Regulation Friday Afternoon Live: Deloitte's tech thing; PAC wants HMRC 'contingencies'; and Sports Direct

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

Audit Friday Afternoon Live: HMRC complaints rise; Deloitte scoops big audits; and corporate reporting woes

1y Kevin Reed, Writer
New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

Accounting Firms New head of equity capital markets for KPMG

1y Stephanie Wix, Writer