Phase two of the new inspection regime of the Companies Registry has come into effect from 24 October 2022, allowing Hong Kong companies to limit disclosure to the public regarding certain personal information of their directors and secretaries.
Under phase two, the usual residential address and full identification number of directors and company secretaries (protected information) will be replaced with the correspondence address (CA) and partial IDs. Protected information contained in documents filed for registration on or after 24 October 2022 will not be available for public inspection, although some specified people can apply to access the protected information.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR COMPANIES
From 24 October 2022, new specified forms will be required to report the CA and partial IDs of directors, company secretaries and other individuals. A sheet is added to each relevant form for reporting protected information of each of these individuals. The Companies Registry will only accept the revised specified forms for registration.
If a director is using a CA that is different from the company’s registered offices address (or the principal place of business in Hong Kong if the company is a registered non-Hong Kong company), a separate form to report the director’s CA will need to be filed with the registry within 15 days (or within one month for a registered non-Hong Kong company) after the commencement of phase two.
Companies that have not already done so in phase one should now ensure that the CA of directors and secretaries is included in their own registers.
ACCESSING PROTECTED INFORMATION
Only specified persons, such as the author’s firm, can apply for the disclosure of protected information on the register to facilitate the conduct of certain functions in relation to statutory procedures, law enforcement and customer due diligence of financial and business transactions. “Specified persons” generally include:
- Data subject or a person authorised by the data subject (i.e., the director or secretary in question);
- A member of the company; and
- Designated non-financial businesses and professions regulated under the
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (cap 615).
Specified persons are required to make a statement to confirm the purpose of obtaining the protected information, which will only be used for that specific purpose.
Business Law Digest is compiled with the assistance of Baker McKenzie. Readers should not act on this information without seeking professional legal advice. You can contact Baker McKenzie by e-mailing Howard Wu (Shanghai) at email@example.com