New inspection regime balanced

The new inspection regime for the Companies Register has struck a reasonable balance between continuing to allow public access to the necessary personal information to ascertain the identity of directors and other major officers of companies, and protecting personal privacy.   The Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau made the statement today in response to news reports on the implementation of the register’s inspection arrangements.   It said upon the new inspection regime’s implementation, all searchers, including the media, will continue to be able to access the information of directors on the register.   Such information includes directors’ personal correspondence addresses and partial identification numbers (IDN). The availability of other information currently available for inspection on the register will not be hindered in any way.   Together with the name of a director, such information should be sufficient to enable searchers to ascertain the identity of the director concerned.   The new inspection arrangements are comparable to those adopted in other overseas common law jurisdictions.   The bureau explained that it consulted the public on the relevant new arrangements in 2009 and made reference to the practices of the UK and Australia where no personal identification numbers are required to be filed on their respective public registers.   The Companies Ordinance stipulates that post office box numbers are not allowed to be used as the correspondence addresses by company directors. The correspondence addresses filed by company directors must be specific addresses that can be used for service of documents.   In case there is a situation where service of documents to a director by way of the correspondence address is not possible, the ordinance also provides that the court has the authority to make an order instructing the Companies Registry to disclose the residential addresses of the directors concerned for communication purpose.   The Registrar of Companies may also make available a director’s residential address for public inspection if the correspondence address is no longer valid. Therefore, the new inspection regime will not impede the necessary service of documents.   On conducting customer due diligence, searchers will have access to the correspondence address and partial IDN of a director, and they may also apply to the registry for inspecting the residential address and full IDN after obtaining authorisation from that director.   Implementation of the new inspection regime would involve substantial modifications of the Companies Registry’s information system. The bureau therefore proposes bringing the provisions into operation by phases to enhance personal data protection.   The bureau said it respects that the community will take time to understand how the new inspection regime will work in practice.   It added that it will consult the Legislative Council Panel on Financial Affairs on April 9 on the entire plan to implement the regime by phases to enable LegCo members and the public to better understand the proposed arrangements.
http://dlvr.it/RwnhnT

Popular posts from this blog

Free Wi-Fi in Hong Kong