Through the Keyhole

This research details how almost 52,000 UK properties are still owned anonymously despite a new transparency law designed to reveal their true owners.

Analysis of the Register of Overseas Entities (ROE), a database of the real owners of offshore firms that hold UK property, has provided some valuable insights into high-end UK property ownership.

But almost half of the 32,440 companies required to declare their ownership have failed to do so.

Analysis of a snapshot of the register from February 1 shows:

  • Around 14,500 offshore companies listed as owning property in England and Wales by the land registry could not be identified on the ROE.
  • More than 3,000 firms listed other anonymous companies (which weren’t themselves on the ROE) in secrecy jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands as their beneficial owners, despite this being against the rules in many cases.
  • More than 4,000 companies indicate they are held by trust arrangements. These opaque structures make it difficult to find out who is really behind them.
  • 12 per cent of all companies that have filed information (2,358) claim to have no beneficial owners – an issue we previously identified as a potential loophole that would allow offshore companies to sidestep the rules.

Learn more by downloading the report below. 


Through the Keyhole

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