The limited company structure provides a number of benefits. Limited liability for its owners, tax efficiency and prestige, to name a few.
When you look at the potential downsides to running as a limited company, the most common topic that comes up is the public register.
Certain information is placed on the public register when you form a limited company. This is to ensure transparency, and therefore trust, in the companies that are incorporated.
In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at whether a company’s share and shareholder information is published.
Shares and shareholders
Shares are the unit in which ownership of a company is measured.
Shareholders, as the name would suggest, are the people – or other companies – who hold these shares. Shareholders are the owners of the company.
Share and shareholder information is placed on the Companies House register
This means anyone who is interested can freely (and relatively simply) look up a company on the Companies House search and see how many shares are in the company, the type of shares these are – and who owns them.
However, it’s important to mention that Companies House doesn’t necessarily hold the latest share information for a company.
Share and shareholder information is included in a company’s incorporation documents. Any share changes after incorporation don’t need to be reported until the company files its annual confirmation statement.
When a confirmation statement does and doesn’t show share and shareholder information
If a company has changed its shareholding situation since incorporation and has filed a confirmation statement, the latest shareholding information will be found in the confirmation statement that covers the period in which the change took place.
The confirmation statement will only show share/shareholder information if a change has taken place since incorporation or its last confirmation statement.
For example, if a company that was formed in 2021 transferred shares to a new shareholder (also in 2021), the 2022 confirmation statement would show this change. However, if no change took place after that, the 2023 confirmation statement would not show share/shareholder information.
To access the latest shareholder information in this instance, anyone interested would need to look back and locate the last confirmation statement that did include shareholder information.
Here’s how to find the share information
- Enter the name of the company on the search tool
- Click on the appropriate company name
- Select ‘Filing history’
- Scroll to and open the most recent ‘Confirmation statement’ (if the company has filed one) – if this does not include share/shareholder information, access the previous ‘Confirmation statement’ (if it has filed one)
- Keep working your way back through the confirmation statements until you do find share/shareholder information
- If you do not find any share/shareholder information in the confirmation statement(s) or the company has not filed any, scroll to ‘Incorporation’ – where you will find the information
So there you have it. Yes, share and shareholder information is placed on the Companies House register, but, this information is not always up to date.
The more recent the incorporation or last confirmation statement, the more accurate the information is likely to be.
We hope this helps. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.