In a recent case, fashion giant Shein UK was found to be in violation of UK company law by failing to disclose its “person with significant control” (PSC). This incident highlights the importance of companies complying with legal requirements and the role that solicitors can play in ensuring compliance.

What happened with Shein UK?

Shein UK, a subsidiary of the global fashion retailer Shein, initially listed a Singapore-based company, Roadget Business Pte Ltd, as its PSC on Companies House. However, this was not compliant with UK law, as the PSC must be an individual. Shein UK has since acknowledged the error and is working to rectify it.

What are PSCs and why are they important?

The PSC regime was introduced in the UK in 2016 to increase transparency about the ownership and control of companies. A PSC is an individual who has significant influence or control over a company, either directly or indirectly. This could include someone who owns more than 25% of the company’s shares or voting rights, or someone who has the right to appoint or remove the majority of the company’s directors.

Disclosing PSCs is important for a number of reasons. It helps to:

  • Combat money laundering and other financial crime: by knowing who ultimately owns and controls a company, it is easier to identify and prevent suspicious activity.
  • Protect investors and creditors: investors and creditors need to know who they are dealing with and who is ultimately responsible for the company’s debts.
  • Increase public trust and confidence in business: transparency about ownership and control helps to build trust in businesses and the wider economy.

The role of solicitors in ensuring compliance

Solicitors can play a vital role in helping companies comply with their legal obligations, including those relating to PSC disclosure. They can advise companies on their PSC reporting requirements, help them to identify their PSCs, and prepare and submit the necessary filings to Companies House.

In addition to ensuring compliance, there are a number of other benefits to using a solicitor for PSC disclosure. These include:

  • Expertise and knowledge: solicitors have the expertise and knowledge to navigate the complex PSC regime and ensure that filings are accurate and complete.
  • Risk management: using a solicitor can help to mitigate the risk of non-compliance and potential penalties.
  • Peace of mind: knowing that a qualified professional is handling PSC disclosure can give companies peace of mind and allow them to focus on running their business.

The Shein UK case serves as a reminder of the importance of companies complying with their legal obligations, including those relating to PSC disclosure. Failing to comply can have serious consequences, including fines and reputational damage. By working with a solicitor, companies can ensure that they are meeting their legal requirements and protecting their interests.