How to Invest in Glasgow (Week 2)
Sep 17, 2010
How to Invest in Glasgow (Week 2)
This is the second in a series of articles about investing in Glasgow. This week we will consider how to invest by looking at some of the laws affecting investing.
Company Ownership and Control
The UK has no law specifically preventing or controlling investment by foreign companies. There is little discrimination between UK citizens and foreign nationals in the establishment or running of companies. One director of a British registered company must be resident in the UK. It is often possible to get a work permit for a foreign manager if requirements on ability and work experience are met.
The UK subscribes to the OECD Committee on Investment and Multinational Enterprises’ (CIME) National Treatment Instrument and the OECD Code on Capital Movements and Invisible Transactions (CMIT). In law, foreign companies should receive the same treatment as British companies.
The Companies Act of 2006 replaced the 1985 Act, simplifying and modernizing existing rules rather than making any dramatic shift in the company law regime. Some industries are controlled by British government ministries. Research is needed before investing in some industries like banking, airlines, insurance, defense, shipping, transport and energy. Laws on monopolies and mergers might apply when acquiring a big UK company. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) evaluates bids and mergers for possible referral to the Competition Commission.
There are not many restrictions on foreign ownership of property. There are sometimes restrictions on the use of property in the title deeds, planning laws and building regulations.
There are now no exchange controls affecting foreign direct investment.
Expropriation of assets or nationalization of an industry are now uncommon and require a special Act of the British Parliament.
The UK is a member of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes so accepts binding international arbitration between the UK government and foreign investors.
The UK is also a signatory of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 allowing local enforcement of arbitration judgments in other signatory countries.
Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is one of a range of incentives for companies, domestic or foreign, locating in depressed regions of the country and generating employment.
Locally-owned and foreign-owned companies are taxed the same.
Intellectual Property Rights
The British legal system gives good intellectual property rights (IPR) protection. There are plenty enforcement mechanisms. The UK is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The UK is also a member of the major intellectual property protection agreements such as the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Geneva Phonograms Convention, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The UK has signed and, through various EU Directives, implemented both the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT)
Historically the UK has had a more flexible labor market than many other EU countries. EU regulations and directives on employment matters are starting to make the law less flexible though the British government is sometimes able to opt out of provisions and retain this greater flexibility.