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Government plans for greater liability of company directors

Company directors should be personally liable for misconduct or company failure, business secretary Vince Cable has said as part of an overhaul of company rules.

Launching the 'Transparency and Trust' paper at the Responsible Capitalism conference, Cable outlined measures to improve corporate transparency and strengthen director accountability and disqualification laws.

The proposed reforms seek to promote growth by improving confidence in the UK as an open and trusted place to invest and do business, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said.

The paper highlights two key points:

Corporate transparency

  • how the UK will implement its G8 commitment to a central register of company owners
  • the abolition of bearer shares and their misuse
  • steps to tackle tax evasion, money laundering, and to boost the UK's investment environment.

Director accountability

  • giving regulators more power to disqualify directors in specific sectors
  • questions on whether disqualified directors should compensate creditors.

"Greater transparency and improved trust will mean honest entrepreneurs and investors can do business more securely in the UK and not be disadvantaged by those who don't play by the rules," said a Government press release.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "A stronger economy depends on investors, employees and the wider public having trust and confidence in companies and those that are running them."