HomeInsightsGovernment publishes guidance on compliance and enforcement of National Security and Investment Act 2021

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The new NSI Act, which fully came into force in January 2021, gives the Government power to scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions made by anyone, including businesses and investors, that could harm the UK’s national security. The Government can also impose certain conditions on an acquisition or, if necessary, unwind or block it, although the Government says that it expects this to happen only rarely, and most deals will require no intervention and be able to proceed without delay. The Government says that the NSI Act also gives investors additional certainty and clarity, with more transparency and more simple, efficient clearance processes for relevant acquisitions.

The NSI Act 2021 provides that in certain circumstances persons can or must notify the Secretary of State of relevant acquisitions and that the Secretary of State may make regulations to prescribe the form and content of those notifications.

The Government has now published guidance on how to comply with the NSI Act and what can be expected if a business is subject to orders and notices.

The guidance explains that compliance obligations may be placed by the Secretary of State on the target business, the acquiring business, third parties, or numerous parties simultaneously. Parties should engage openly, fully and in good time to demonstrate compliance, for example by providing information as requested by the Investment Security Unit (ISU), which sits within the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, to support assessment of acquisitions or to verify compliance with orders. The ISU aims to minimise the burden on businesses throughout its engagement with the requirements of the NSI Act. To access the guidance, click here.