asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, pursuant to his answer of 15 December, Official Report, column 345, on shareholders' lists, he will summarise the views of companies in relation to the supply of names and addresses of shareholders under section 356 of the Companies Act 1985.
The consultative document on "Delivery of Annual Accounts and Returns to the Registrar of Companies" raised a number of issues on registers of shareholders. It sought views on a proposal to change the requirement for companies annually to file a full copy of the register of shareholders at company registration offices, where they may be inspected or copied. It proposed, while retaining the duty of companies themselves to maintain full registers of shareholders and permit public inspection and copying of them, that filing of full lists be restricted to companies with fewer than 10 members; with other companies being required to file only the total number of shareholders together with a full list of those individually holding 1 per cent. or more of the company's shares. A majority of the 994 companies and representative organisations who responded favoured some change along the lines proposed, but there were mixed views about the degree of disclosure.However, nearly all respondents agreed with a related proposal to raise the fees for inspection and copying of lists of members taken from company registers. Most also agreed that the Companies Act should be amended to allow these fees to be fixed by order.