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Using Third Parties to ID Verify

Third Party Filings & ID Verification

As approximately half of all company formations and filings are presented by third parties, it is also a requirement that third parties are ID verified before they can file or deliver documents on behalf of other people or companies.

It may be a company secretary or employee of a company making the filing. They will also need to be ID verified.

As many filings are outsourced to third party agents, these bodies will need to confirm they are supervised and register with Companies House (CH) before they can be permitted to form companies or make any filings on behalf of their clients/customers.

Requirements to act as a Third Party Agent

Third party agents must be registered with a supervisory body for anti-money laundering purposes (and have this confirmed) and are required to conduct Customer Due Diligence checks, under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. 

Third parties will also be required to submit evidence of the ID verification checks they are responsible for when they interact with CH. Registration will also allow third parties to conduct the ID verification checks that will allow directors, partners of LLPs and PSCs etc to open an account with Companies House.

Third party agents are likely to be Authorised Corporate Service Providers (see here) and be bodies such as accountants, lawyers and company formation agents etc.

Registration Process as a Third Party Agent

The director or equivalent of a third party, whose ID has already been verified, will submit the contact details of the third party and information about its supervision to CH online. This information will then be cross matched with data that is held by HMRC. If supervision is confirmed, the third party agent will be given credentials which will enable them to make filings or form companies or partnerships with CH.

The process aims to be quick and easy.

Third Party filings

When it applies to form a company (or other registrable entity) or to file on a company’s (or other registrable entity’s) behalf, a third party will need to provide evidence of its credentials. The third party will also be required to list the ID verification checks that they have carried out on each prospective director (or equivalent) or details of the director’s (or equivalent’s) account(s) that already exist for those persons. They will also be required to declare that they are satisfied that all relevant ID checks have been carried out.

CH will only register entities if they are satisfied that the checks that have been conducted on all directors (or equivalents) are to at least the same standard as those required by CH themselves when verifying directors. 

CH will inform supervisory bodies of third party agents that are registered with it. Information as to anomalous, suspicious, or incorrect filings that a third party makes with CH may be shared with that supervisor. Ultimately whilst primary responsibility for action against a rogue third party agent lies with their supervisor, CH will have the power to terminate the registration of a third party if the supervisor fails to take appropriate action and the nature of the risk is considered sufficiently serious. Information may also be shared with other appropriate bodies such as law enforcement agencies.

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