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viernes, 11 de octubre de 2013

Gran Bretaña: la identificación de los accionistas y la responsabilidad de los administradores



Es conocida la técnica normativa seguida por los gobiernos británicos consistente en preparar eventuales propuestas legales o reglamentarias por procesos de consulta pública. A varios de esos procesos me he referido en el blog, tanto por la relevancia que tienen los hechos analizados como por la influencia que las soluciones que al final se  adopten terminan teniendo sobre otros ordenamientos. 


En esta ocasión me referiré al proceso de consulta, que terminó el pasado mes de septiembre, sobre un documento que abordaba con brevedad asuntos de especial relevancia. El documento sometido a discusión a partir del pasado mes de julio se titulaba “Transparency & trust: enhancing the transparency of UK company ownership and increasing trust in UK business”.

Su propósito era tan sencillo como contundente: conocer quiénes  resultaban ser los titulares reales de la propiedad o del control de las sociedades británicas. Para ello, las medidas contempladas se proyectan en primer lugar sobre la transparencia societaria con respecto a su capital, de tal manera que toda sociedad conozca quiénes son sus propietarios. A ese respecto las medidas cuya revisión se proponen son las siguientes:

“. We propose that the registry should hold information on the beneficial owners (i.e. on individuals with significant control or influence) of all UK companies, but consider whether companies already subject to stringent disclosure rules should be exempt.

. We intend to give all companies statutory tools to identify their beneficial ownership; and we consider what additional requirements might be required to ensure beneficial ownership information on all companies is indeed obtained.

. We look at what information should be provided to the registry; how frequently it should be updated; and how to ensure that it is as accurate as possible.

. We consider whether information in the registry should be made public – noting the strong case for openness but recognising that there may be concerns.

. We propose that the creation of new bearer shares should be prohibited; and that existing bearer shares should be converted to ordinary registered shares.

. We consider options to enhance transparency around the use of nominee directors; and whether companies should be prohibited from being appointed company directors, i.e. whether we should ban corporate directors”.

En segundo lugar, otras medidas normativas que se están ponderando se dirigen contra los administradores que incumplan sus deberes legales, a los que se convierte en destinatarios de las siguientes propuestas:

“. Following the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards’ recommendation that directors of banks should have a primary responsibility to ensure the safety and stability of their firms, we consider whether to amend directors’ statutory duties in key sectors such as banking and whether to allow sectoral regulators to disqualify directors in their sector.

. We consider what additional factors the court might take into account in director disqualification proceedings, such as the nature and number of previous company failures a director has been involved in.

. We look at options to help creditors receive compensation when they have suffered from a director’s fraudulent or reckless behaviour.

. We propose that the time limit for bringing disqualification proceedings in insolvent company cases should be extended from two to five years.

. We propose directors who have been disqualified should be offered education or training to equip them with the skills they need to go on to run a successful company.

. We consider whether individuals subject to foreign restrictions should be prevented from being a director of a UK company; and whether directors convicted of a criminal offence in relation to the management of an overseas company should be able to be disqualified in the UK”.

El proceso de consulta puede seguirse en la página web gubernamental, en la que se indica que en breve se anunciarán próximos pasos con vistas a una futura regulación.

Madrid, 11 de octubre de 2013