Devising and executing a successful PR and lobbying campaign to strengthen anti money laundering regulations at Companies House

By 2019, London had long been known as the European centre of money laundering. The capital was being used by criminal gangs to clean up dirty money because of how easy it was to set up a company, without any form of verification.

The PHA Group was tasked by the Business Data Group (BDG) with highlighting the significant flaws in the system for registering a firm at Companies House – which allowed large-scale money laundering to take place. For award-winning BDG, which streamlines the process of registering a new business, these included the ability for any individual to form a limited company without any ID checks or by using a false name and address.

We worked alongside the Managing Director of BDG to push through much-needed proposals to reform the way Companies House conducts anti-money laundering and ID verification. We deployed an integrated political and press campaign targeted at decision-makers to highlight the potential risk that this loophole caused to the UK’s economy and reputation.

We established a campaign vehicle, known as the “Robust Campaign” in order to ensure our messaging and communications came from a single entity. We were commissioned to create a hard-hitting campaign video (embedded) and we worked with YouGov to survey business leaders’ attitudes towards money laundering in the UK.

We facilitated a series of briefings with Parliamentarians from both houses, focusing on the need for reform of the Companies House Register. This dovetailed with media coverage of the campaign group in CityAM, The Guardian, Daily Mail and other national titles. Our political briefings resulted in the Business Data Group successfully lobbying for amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill. A submission to the “Corporate Transparency and Register Reform” Consultation resulted in Companies House formally adopting compulsory identification checks, in line with the proposals the Business Data Group had suggested.

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