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160,000 firms register their beneficial ownership

03 Dec 2019 / regulation Print

160,000 firms register their beneficial ownership

A total of 160,000 companies had registered their beneficial ownership details with the Register of Beneficial Ownership by the end of November.

This amounts to 70% of the total. The number of industrial and provident societies that had registered was 450 (47%), according to Company Registration Office (CRO) figures.  


Over 150,000 submissions were received in recent weeks, and some are still being processed.

The CRO has also said that, because of the disruption caused to services over the holiday period, forms submitted will be treated as received on time if sent electronically by midnight on Thursday, 2 January, where the annual returns deadline for filing falls between Tuesday 24 December and that day.


The CRO has also issued a reminder that a single-director company cannot satisfy certain requirements of the Companies Act by the signature of the sole director in a dual capacity as both director and secretary. 

Section 134 of the Companies Act 2014 prohibits this, and the act itself introduced the concept of single-director companies. (Private limited-by-shares companies registered under Part 2 of the Companies Act 2014 can be single-director limited companies).

These companies are still required to have a separate company secretary, the CRO has said.

The company secretary must be someone other than the existing sole director. If the sole director appoints a separate company to act as its secretary, the sole director in question might also be a director of that ‘secretarial’ company.


However, he/she cannot sign documents for the first company as secretary where a document requires the signatures of both the director and secretary, that is, a person cannot sign both as director and as (or in place of) the secretary on the same form.

Section 134 of the Companies Act which provides this rule also applies to companies with two or more directors.


Notable forms that require the signatures of both the director and the secretary include:

  • Form A1 – the company incorporation document and,
  • Form B1 – the annual return. 


Two different people have to sign-off on the forms. If a form A1 or B1 is received (or any other prescribed form that requires the signatures of both a director and the secretary for certification), and the 

same individual signs as both director and secretary, this form will be 
rejected and returned to the presenter, the CRO says.  

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