Companies Investigation Branch
CIB is part of the regulatory arm of the
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).
Prior to the creation of BIS, it was part of the Department of
Trade & Industry (DTI).
Although CIB is
located within the Insolvency Service, an Executive Agency of
BIS, it is not limited to companies that have become
insolvent. In fact, most of our investigations are into
companies that are actively trading. Please see our “Frequently
Asked Questions” for details of what we can and cannot
The Role of CIB
One of BIS’s objectives is to “Deliver free
and fair markets …ensuring markets work to the benefit of
business, investors, employees and consumers, and for law
enforcement to deter fraud”. This includes dealing with misconduct
or unscrupulous practices, whether or not this amounts to fraud.
CIB contributes to this objective by exercising
the powers to investigate companies under the Companies Acts.
When we receive information about the behaviour
of a company we will assess that information to see whether or not
it would be appropriate for us to attend on that company and
require it to provide us with documents and information. This
allows us to come to a view as to whether further action, and if
so what action, is required in the wider public interest.
Our approach is to take a proportionate and
realistic view of issues brought to our attention, and to
investigate aspects of corporate behaviour which might harm both
the business community and the public generally.
We also carry out a risk assessment of each
case to ensure that those cases with a higher level of risk to the
public are given priority.
Our investigations are confidential, and that
is why we do not tell complainants whether or not we are going to
investigate, or, when we do decide to investigate, tell the
company’s directors the reasons why we are doing so or who has
We do not carry out criminal investigations -
those are better left to other bodies such as the police or BIS’s
Prosecution Lawyers - though our investigations may provide the
basis for a subsequent criminal enquiry.
Please note that we cannot intervene in any
dispute between individuals and a company, be they creditors,
shareholders or the company’s own management - although we may
investigate the issues giving rise to the dispute if there is a
wider public interest in doing so.
What we do
What we do not do
How we do it
What can happen
How to complain
Press Releases (from April 2006)