The new public inspection regime under the Companies Ordinance (the “Regime”)
From 23 August 2021, companies may withhold from public inspection the usual residential addresses (“URAs”) and full identification numbers (“IDNs”) of directors and company secretaries as contained in the registers of directors and register of secretaries kept by the companies. In such circumstances, correspondence addresses instead of URAs and partial IDNs instead of full IDNs of directors, company secretaries and other relevant persons would be made available on the Registers for public inspection.
The Regime enables only the specified persons who have legitimate reasons to access the protected information (i.e. full IDNs and full URAs).
The Regime will run into three phases.
- Phase I ( 23 August 2021)
- Protected information may be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs on their registers.
- Phase II (24 October 2022)
- Protected information will be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs on their registers.
- Protected information contained in documents filed for registration after the start of phase II will not be provided for public inspection.
- This also applies to registered non Hong Kong incorporated companies.
- “Specified persons” may apply to the CR for access to protected information of director and other persons.
- A data subject
- A person who is authorized in writing by a data subject to obtain the information
- A member of the company
- A liquidator
- A trustee in bankruptcy
- A public officer or public body
- A scheduled person
- A solicitor or foreign lawyer
- A certified public accountant (practising)
- A financial institution or Designated Non-financial Business and Profession
- Phase III (27 December 2023)
- Companies may apply to the CR for protecting their protected information from public inspection contained in documents already registered with the CR (“Withheld Information”) before the commencement of Phase II, and replace such information with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs.
- “Specified persons” may apply to the CR for access to Withheld Information of director and other persons.
For any queries concerning the Regime (or other company secretarial issue). Please contact Joseph Lam at email@example.com