Have a great picture of your financial health, check your corporate compliance score!

Have you ever been in the situation where you want to expand or improve your company at any point and you may consider a loan? But how does you company look like from the point of view of lender and business partner? It could be frightening to invest in a business that look in a tight spot. Be aware of your corporate score could help you with your future professional relationship. In fact, having a complete and up to date information on your company corporate report with a good corporate score is the easiest way to get the best financial terms.

What is the component of a corporate compliance report?

The corporate report reflects a current and objective picture of how a business manages its financial obligations. Armadillo provide four different kind of corporate report.

Why corporate score is important?

The corporate compliance score is a number calculated to determine how likely a company will be able in meeting the overall corporate obligations of the company. The only way to find out your corporate score is to check it out. Here is what it looks like:

Having a low corporate score could involve significant drawbacks as:

  • High interest rates on credit cards and loans
  • Disapproval for credit and loan applications
  • Difficulty renting
  • Required security deposits on utilities
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Decreased job prospects (especially in upper management positions)
  • More difficulty starting a business

A low corporate score could affect your business but it evolves during time so you can bump up it at any time. However, you have to be aware that it is a long process, it would not happen overnight.

Here are few tips to boost your corporate compliance score:

Continue reading “Have a great picture of your financial health, check your corporate compliance score!”

Press release – Happy 20th birthday Armadillo



Corporate Intelligence Solutions

Globally networked experts across 200 countries

Press Release


Armadillo Business Information celebrates 20 years on the Web


Hertfordshire, UK

Armadillo, the world’s first web based company information database, celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 3rd.

In 1995, based near Old Street roundabout in London, Emmanuel Cohen, Armadillo’s chairman started on the road to launch an online company data system.

Having been shown the web in April 95 by a research scientist after Tim Berners-Lee uploaded the web structure in CERN, Manny’s first thought was “very nice, if you’re into cell wall research!” However, on a subsequent visit to the bookshop, Barnes and Noble he was shown all the books on this new area. “Imagine bookshelves, 20 meters long, 1.8 meters high devoted to a subject that was completely new. I never understood a word, but I knew then that it was important”

Manny continues “I will always remember a weekend in November 1996 when I had to make a huge decision. I could only afford the development work on one of the access systems at the time, it was a massive gamble. Should I risk everything – my business, my house, the lot – on chasing the dream of my own online database? I decided the web was the future so I gambled everything I had. Nowadays it is hard to imagine what a risk that was. Back then, the web was untried and untested as a commercial tool.”

“It amuses me that Old Street (known as Silicon Roundabout) where we started is today a burgeoning centre for web companies. These days developers are working on a tried and tested platform. It just was not there back in the mid-90s when we launched. It was true disruptive technology.”

“I was told recently that I must be the founding father of the Shoreditch Fintech revolution. Well, I don’t know about that, but my team and I certainly helped develop the bar revolution in the area!”

What Manny and his team pioneered at the time, was a unique commercial web database. Worldwide company reports and documents could be instantly bought by account or credit card from anywhere in the world, delivered to anywhere in the world. Users could also order the registration of companies online. The system was launched at the Barbican Solicitors Exhibition in London in June 1997

“It was an amazing feeling. Once launched, we went out to our clients to sell the new service. Guess what they all said. “The internet? Too slow, no security, we can never connect – it will never catch on!”

Happy Birthday Armadillo and congratulations on the first and longest running online corporate commercial database on the web. Manny concludes ” Guess what, we haven’t stopped. We’re still innovating and are working on lots of new projects, so watch this space!”

For the full story, go to : https://news.rmonline.com/chairman/

About Armadillo Business Information:

  • 1997 First company information online supplier to launch on the Web.
  • 1998 First to offer Trade Mark searching on the Web.
  • 1999 First to offer direct access to Companies House Direct.
  • 2001 First business Database to commit complete XML delivery.
  • 2011 First company information mobile App (featured as App of the Week by city of London magazine Shortlist and the BBC’s “Click” programme).

Leading provider of online data to financial, legal and commercial markets. Coverage includes:

  • 250 million companies from all 200 countries around the world.
  • All 2.5 million live limited UK companies
  • More than 3.2 million UK sole traders, partnerships and other non-limited businesses.
  • UK online AML checks on 50 million individuals

All instantly available online or via their app on a transactional (credit card) or subscription basis.

Using Armadillo, clients can save valuable time and money, and be compliant with all appropriate due diligence for Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti Money Laundering (AML) and everyday trading risks.

For more information please contact sales@armadillo.co.uk
or call +44 (0)20 7729 1234

Issued on behalf of:
Armadillo Business Information Ltd, a member of the RM Group®,
Invision House,
Wilbury Way,

Registered as a Limited Company in England and Wales No. 03222303. ISO 9001 registration numbers: GB2003315. Website: www.armadillo.co.uk

If you are no longer interested, you can unsubscribe




BREXIT: Will the UK become an offshore haven…..

BREXIT: Will the UK become an offshore haven

One of the charges levelled at Brexit has been the likelihood of the UK becoming an offshore haven for foreign companies, the implication being that overseas investors who establish companies in the UK are motivated simply by a desire to avoid or reduce taxes.

Well on occasion maybe…….. but in our experience there are many perfectly legitimate reasons for non UK residents wanting to set up UK companies. For instance the UK is recognised as being relatively incorruptible compared to certain other nations, hence there are a disproportionately high number of overseas owned companies registering with the UK’s Companies House, compared to other jurisdictions. Potential judicial corruption in some countries can force non-British business owners to register their businesses in the UK simply to guard against “share-raiding” i.e. bribery-induced shifting of ownership on the official records. Registering your company in the UK can significantly reduce this risk.

That said, the benefits of owning a UK business can be just as attractive to the non legitimate as the legitimate businessman. Hence the significant due diligence that has to be undertaken by UK Company Formation Agents every time they establish a new company.

Extensive checks have to be carried out to check the bona fides of individuals who are potential company officers and owners. Depending on the risk assessment these may include:

  • Proof of ID
  • Proof of address
  • Personal references
  • Bank statements
  • Due diligence on business relationships
  • Travel records

Many of these checks are required to be carried out face to face or certified by a competent authority.

Adherence to such processes ensures that the UK legal and regulatory system continues to hold the respect of the rest of the world.

Increasingly however, individuals, whether British citizens or not, choose to form a company using the online formation process offered by Companies House. The excellent service has certain advantages in being quick, cheap and easy to use.

One would anticipate that such a system would conform to all the due diligence that would apply were the company to be formed by a formation agent. But surprisingly that is not the case.

Company Registration Agents are classified as Trust or Company Service Providers, subject to audit and inspection to ensure that they are performing all this necessary due diligence. They have to be registered with HMRC or SRA if they are a legal firm. However, since Companies House is not considered a commercial provider of these services it is not required to subject users of its online registration system to this same due diligence. This applies whether the users, founders of these new companies, are based in the UK or abroad.

Analysis shows that around 20,000 companies a month are formed using Companies House Direct which means some 240,000 per annum are being formed without any due diligence whatsoever. This equates to 40% of the total number of companies formed per annum and the percentage is growing.

Whatever your view of Brexit it is probably a reality that the demand for UK registered companies from those outside of the UK will also continue to increase. But the door has been left open for illegitimate business people in the UK and beyond to swerve all the due diligence required from Company Registration Agents.

This issue has been raised with Companies House by the industry and others. It is now high time for this loophole to be closed.

The Good Standing of British Businesses

Tracing its roots back to 1844, Companies House has long been responsible for ensuring that limited companies file all relevant documents about their businesses and for making that documentation publically available. It is one of the great trade offs of modern capitalism: in exchange for the great privilege of limited liability, companies allow transparency of their ownership and financial affairs.

Most of the types of documents available for UK companies are well known and well understood, Annual Accounts, Annual Returns, Confirmation Statements, Memoranda and Articles of Association, Mortgage Documents etc.

However there have always been more obscure documents for more niche applications. Chief amongst these is the Certificate of Good Standing (CGS), also known as Certificates of Authorisation, Certificates of Existence or Existence Certificates. Whilst sounding a little archaic, these certificates have long provided a valuable service to the British business community working internationally.

CGSs are used to prove that a company is incorporated and authorised to undertake business in a particular jurisdiction, in our case the UK. Specifically they show that the company has continued to exist since it was incorporated and no action is underway to remove the company from the register.

Differing from other official company documents whose filing is mandated, CGSs have traditionally been issued by Companies House on request. There are a number of reasons why a company might make this request with the most likely being related to initiatives to trade abroad

The CGS is signed by a Company House official and sent by post to the company’s registered office address. It includes:

  • The company’s number and name
  • The date of incorporation
  • A declaration to validate uninterrupted existence from the time of incorporation
  • A declaration that no action has been taken by Companies House to strike off the company and describe it as invalid
  • A declaration that, as far as the Registrar is aware, the company is not in insolvency, subject to an administration order and no manager or receiver of the company’s property has been appointed.

Companies House can also include supplementary information if requested, such as:

  • Registered Office address
  • Names of Directors and Secretary
  • Company objectives
  • Shareholders
  • Issued share capital
  • Nationalities of Directors
  • Directors Dates of Birth

Most companies will never need a CGS, although some have used them to demonstrate that their filings are current. For business trading exclusively within the UK, a CGS may occasionally be required by banks when setting up new accounts, lenders as a clause of a loan offer or likely investors or business partners

However the key benefit of a CGS is to help companies looking to conduct businesses overseas.  For instance setting up a foreign branch in another country will usually require a CGS to be tendered to the authorised registrar in that country. By indicating that the company is fulfilling its regulatory responsibilities, the certificate will show that the company is certified and well organised, and thus give confidence to potential suppliers, clients and other concerned parties.

The use of CGSs between member nations of the EU has declined as open access to documentation has increased. However business dealings between non EU and British companies have long been facilitated by CGSs. They are often a requirement in foreign contracts. It is a real possibility that when the UK leaves the EU our former partner nations in that organisation will resume their requirements for a CGS when dealing with British businesses.

In theory a CGS can be demanded for any company listed in the database of Companies House. The demand can be refused for certain reasons such as the company’s accounts or yearly returns are not up to date.

Strangely, however CGSs now seem to have become even more elusive. Towards the end of last year requests were met with the response that no more would be provided. Searching for Certificate of Good Standing on the web still leads one to the Companies House website but it is no longer possible to find any information about how to obtain them. At the last two Companies House user group meetings, Armadillo Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Cohen has asked why it is no longer possible to obtain CGSs, and was told that Companies House was no longer going to provide them..

With Brexit looming it would seem that anything that can help British businesses to thrive overseas should be cherished. Preparation needs to be in place for the increasing focus on dealing outside of the EU and for regulatory change within the EU. The latter in itself may cause an increase in requests for these certificates. Whether used by EU member states or throughout the rest of the world CGSs facilitate the purchase of property and the signing of import and export deals. If the Certificate of Good Standing is a casualty of Companies House cost cutting the timing is, to say the least, unfortunate.

This unexplained change threatens to leave UK businesses ill prepared for the challenges and opportunities associated with Brexit.

Corporate Secrecy and Red Footed Boobies

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory, comprising three islands in the western Caribbean. Best known for beach resorts, scuba diving, snorkelling sites, deep-sea fishing, endangered iguanas, red-footed boobies and corporate secrecy.

To date only limited information has been available about companies registered in this Caribbean idyll, typically a brief summary of registration details.

UK government’s requests to a number of British Overseas Territories to develop fully public registers of ownership have traditionally been met with reluctance by the government of the Cayman Islands, concerned about the privacy of beneficial owners. Now however there are plans to introduce a beneficial ownership register that seeks to strike an acceptable balance between transparency and privacy. The UK government has accepted the compromise proposed by Cayman.

The forthcoming legislation will require certain Cayman Islands companies to be included on the UBO (ultimate beneficial ownership) Register. It will list those who ultimately own or control more than 25 per cent of the equity, or voting rights or have the right to appoint or remove a majority of a company’s directors or LLC managers. Intermediate holding companies, through which other companies may be held, may also be listed.

The proposed system will allow the UK government, and other foreign authorities and Cayman domestic bodies with agreements in place, to access a UBO Register, via a Competent Authority i.e. any person or organisation that has the legally delegated authority to perform this particular function.

The register will not be publicly accessible, unless and until such access becomes an international standard.

So, one small step forward for law enforcement agencies in their fight against tax evasion and money laundering, but no great leap forward for those businesses involved in international trade who need to Know Their Customers. One wonders whether such a regulatory regime has a more or less promising future than the boobies and the iguanas.

BVD and Armadillo – Document retrieval, super-fast turnaround times and the dark practice of share-raiding

12 May 2017

By Alistair King, content manager, Bureau van Dijk
1977 was, like most, a year of mixed fortunes.
While Elizabeth II celebrated her silver jubilee and Star Wars was released, it also saw the deaths of Elvis Presley and Charlie Chaplin.
But for Emmanuel “Manny” Cohen, 1977 is remembered as the year he started in business – making 2017 his ruby jubilee.
“Today I celebrate 40 years as an entrepreneur,” he wrote on his blog on 6th January. “Always interesting, never boring. I wrote out a list of businesses that I have either started and dropped or am still doing. Amazingly it came to 40! From health screening and photography to business information and a law firm. I’m still at it.”
And it’s through business information that Manny is associated with Bureau van Dijk.
His company document retrieval service – built and maintained by aRMadillo, a company he owns and chairs – has been a feature of Orbisfor several years.
But for our latest Orbis release, which went live last month, we’ve reengineered it, making it more prominent, accessible and easier to use, something that Manny sees as a “really exciting development”.
To discuss aRMadillo’s offerings and find out more about the man behind them, I met Manny at our offices a few weeks ago.
The first thing that strikes me is how young he looks for someone with such a long professional backstory. You must have started when you were barely out of school, I suggest.
“Yes, I was 19,” he says. “I worked as a researcher for RM [the company his father started, recently rebranded as aRMadillo]. I’d spend my early days sorting through documents at Companies House – hard files, paper, then microfilm.”
Technology moved on to disks and then online but Manny had long since risen in the company, focusing – among other things – on building a team that would deliver a super-fast and reliable reports-on-demand service.
You can order documents directly from aRMadillo. But users of Orbis, our database of around 220 million private companies across all countries worldwide, can order documents through our platform. This keeps their research processes in one place, making things run more smoothly. Charges apply only for the documents requested.

Reintroducing the Orbis document ordering module

The Document ordering module is available from Orbis’s Tools page.
Through this module, you can obtain documents such as annual reports, shareholders’ details, certificates of incorporation, and so on, for any company you are researching.
A crucial point to note is that in certain types of compliance and third-party due diligence, researchers must obtain copies of original documents.
This is one of the main things that this module delivers – and, according to Manny, it safeguards against risks such as document forgery by going through an official source.
What’s more, if you enter a company name into the quick search or the name search of Orbis and your chosen company cannot be found, you’re prompted to use the Document ordering tool as an option.
Given the many millions of companies already on Orbis, catering for that pool – not to mention extending beyond it – must mean that Manny has had to develop a huge and intricate network, as aRMadillo doesn’t hold these documents or scans of them itself.
So, is that at the heart of Manny’s operation?

Global network and broad expertise

In a word, yes.
Manny tells me that aRMadillo can source and supply company documents from anywhere in the world, accessing up to 1,000 registries in more than 200 countries. They can reach most jurisdictions in less than an hour, he says, assisted in part by a network of “more than 50 associated offices, a multilingual team and inhouse solicitors,” both those working in document retrieval and as part of RM Group’s own law firm.
“All of our documents are sourced directly from official sources – where they physically scan the original documents – so you can be sure of their provenance,” Manny adds.
It’s a tough process, as Bureau van Dijk’s own network of information providers will attest from their dealings with the many registries around the world.
Manny points out that “while there’s one central registry of companies in the UK, there are 50 in the US, 28 in Brazil and 32 in Mexico,” for example. “People assume that because it’s so simple here [in the UK], it must be as easy elsewhere,” says Manny. “It isn’t.” But the company has been building this network since 1973, so it knows how to navigate the variable terrain.
Of course, it might be (relatively) simple in the UK for a reason – or reasons.
One of them – cultural – we discuss in our white paper, Untangling the world of private company information.
But it’s also a question of necessity. And here we slip into another area of Manny’s expertise.

Global company formation services

On top of company document retrieval, aRMadillo helps new companies register themselves.
It’s quite an involved process, and through his dealings Manny has made a couple of related observations: the UK is perceived to be relatively incorruptible, hence a disproportionately high number of companies registering with the UK’s Companies House; and, so he suggests, judicial corruption in many countries that he’s reluctant to name can force non-British business owners to register their businesses in the UK simply to guard against “share-raiding”.
This dark practice involves the bribery-induced shifting of ownership on the official records. Registering elsewhere can significantly reduce this risk.
I decide to round off with a more innocent question: why the strange typographical style in “aRMadillo”?
“Well, it just looks more like an armadillo that way,” says Manny.
It’s hard to argue with that. If only everything were as simple.
Here’s to your next 40 years in business, Manny. Let’s catch up in 2057.

40 years

Emmanuel Cohen – Chief Executive:
2017 is a special year for me. On January 6th, I celebrated 40 years in the industry. It has certainly been a roller coaster of a time. Always interesting, never boring. And guess what folks, I’m still at it. Am I successful? Well, life has taught me that the most important thing is family followed by friends. So if success is measured by that, then yes, I have been very lucky. I have an amazing family, great friends and many fun and interesting acquaintances. Business is always a challenge and it is coping with the unforeseen and overcoming the challenges that is the secret of success. It is a bit like bobsleigh driving, don’t worry about the last corner, prepare for the next. Bring it on!!

I was at an event a few weeks ago, chatting to one of our largest and longest standing business information customers, a top six accounting firm. We were discussing the fact that they had stuck with us for nearly 20 years and they said to me, “You know what Manny, you always deliver.”

That was great to hear since it is our 20th year as an online web company data base. At aRMadillo we devote ourselves to delivering to our clients, striving to be their leading supplier of business and financial information. To find out how we can help you to source UK or international company documents and reports please contact us.

Also this month I am pleased to welcome our new Sales Director to aRMadillo. Nigel Dickinson has been in the company information industry since 1984, with 30 years experience at Dun & Bradstreet in a variety of operational, marketing, sales and senior management positions. Since leaving D&B he has broadened his experience in the industry with consultancy and interim positions at Context4, Key Note and Caterlyst. I am sure Nigel will be a valuable addition to the aRMadillo team. You can contact him at nigel.dickinson@armadillo.co.uk or 07595 779 651.

Happy New Year to you from all at aRMadillo Business Information. We wish you a successful and prosperous 2017 and look forward to supporting you in your success wherever possible.

Why not start the New Year with a review of your corporate document requirements. Contact us now for a free consultation.