NEW INSPECTION REGIME FOR THE COMPANIES REGISTER

COMPANY SECRETARIAL

The Government gazetted updates to the Companies Ordinance introducing the new address inspection regime for the Companies Register. In addition to this, the new subsidiary legislation will be launched in 3 phases.

Correspondence Address Replace Residential Address

The subsidiary legislations stipulate that the Companies Registry (CR)’s Companies Register is to make available for public inspection. Hence, directors’ correspondence addresses will replace of their usual residential addresses (URAs). Nevertheless, partial identification numbers (IDNs) of directors, company secretaries and other relevant people in place of full IDNs. 

Reasons for the New Legislation?

In view of rising community concern over whether personal information contained in public registers is adequately protected. The Government considers it appropriate to implement the new inspection regime under the Companies Ordinance now. In order to enhance personal information while ensuring that the public can continue inspecting the register. 

Who can access the information? 

Under the new regime, specified people may access URAs and full IDNs which are categorised as protected information. 

Specified people include data subjects and those they authorise. In general, the company’s members; public officers, public bodies and people or organisations who need to use protected information for executing statutory functions; lawyers practising in law firms and practising accountants; banks; and financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions regulated under the Anti-Money Laundering & Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance. 

The new inspection regime will run in 3 Phases

Phase 1: Starting on 23rd August, 2021

The companies may replace directors’ URAs with their correspondence addresses, and directors’ and company secretaries’ full IDNs with their partial IDNs on their registers for public inspection.

Phase 2: Starting on 24th October, 2022

Particularly, protected information on the index of directors on the register will be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs for public inspection. Especially protected information contained in documents filed for registration after the commencement of this phase will not be provided for public inspection. However, specified people may apply to the CR for accessing protected information. 

Phase 3: Starting on 27th December, 2023

Data subjects may apply to the CR for protecting their protected information from public inspection contained in documents already registered with the CR before the commencement of phase two, and replace such information with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs. Specified people may apply to the CR for accessing protected information. 

Still, the new provisions on public inspection of information in under gazette. 

For further information, please contact us.

You may want to read: 4 MAIN REGISTERS AT THE HONG KONG COMPANY REGISTRY

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