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Britain announces proposals to improve corporate transparency


20:35, July 15, 2013

LONDON, July 15 (Xinhua) -- British Business Secretary Vince Cable on Monday announced measures to help improve corporate transparency and strengthen director disqualification laws, according to a statement from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

Speaking at the Responsible Capitalism conference, hosted by think tank Reform, Cable announced the launch of the "transparency and trust" paper setting out a number of proposals aimed at addressing opaque company ownership structures and improving the accountability of company directors.

The paper proposes the abolition of bearer shares and measures to tackle misuse of corporate directors and nominee directors. These reforms aim to help tackle tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

It also sets out ways of making directors more accountable for misconduct or company failure - including directors of banks.

"Key proposals include giving regulators greater powers to disqualify directors in specific sectors and allowing courts to take more account of the social impacts of directors' actions," read the report.

The paper asks whether disqualified directors should directly compensate creditors after a company collapses, be offered education before returning to such a position and whether disqualified foreign directors should be barred from holding a similar position in Britain.

"The reality is that the vast majority of companies and directors contribute productively to the economy, abide by the rules and make an enormous contribution to society," Cable said.

"However, it is also apparent that an errant few operate in the shadows, creating complex ownership structures which only serve to deceive."

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