Business – Minister bans board secrecy

The government has decided against striking out the home addresses of directors and company secretaries at Company’s House. But trade minister Ian McCartney has decided to revoke the requirement for other directorships to be detailed on the records.

In a Commons written answer, the minister said he had given ‘very serious’ consideration to responses to a DTI consultation paper on the issue. He decided the requirement for companies to file their directors’ and company secretaries’ home addresses, as well as their directors’ nationality and business occupations at Companies House, should remain.

‘I am conscious of the concerns of those companies that wanted to be able to keep home addresses of the public register on grounds of either security or privacy. But such concerns would be impossible to allay completely.

The particulars of existing directors registered at Companies House are in the public arena and it would not be possible to prevent access to that information from company information providers other than Companies House.’

He said directors must be accountable to their shareholders and creditors.

‘Keeping home addresses off the public record would make it more difficult to locate directors and easier for directors to avoid creditors and perpetrate fraud. It would also be more difficult to find out whether directors have been associated with companies that had failed or had been made bankrupt in the past,’ he said.

McCartney said the creation of a computerised register of directors with full details of all such posts held by Companies House since 1991 made the requirement for directors to file other directorships on the company’s records an unnecessary administrative burden. Legislation to revoke this requirement in companies’ annual returns will be brought forward later this year.

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