HK Government is proposed aFrom 23 August 2021, companies may withhold from public inspection the usual residential addresses (“URAs”) of directors and full identification numbers (“IDNs”) of directors and company secretaries.
Public disclosure of Address and Identification Number
From 23 August 2021, companies may withhold from public inspection the usual residential addresses (“URAs”) of directors and full identification numbers (“IDNs”) of directors and company secretaries as contained in the registers of directors and registers of company secretaries kept by the companies. In such cases, companies are to make available for public inspection on their own registers correspondence addresses of directors and partial IDNs of directors and company secretaries.
Currently, the Companies Register (“the Register”) maintained by the Companies Registry (“the Registry”) contains personal information available for public inspection. Such personal information includes, among other data, the URAs and full IDNs of directors of companies, and full IDNs of company secretaries and some other individuals (such as liquidators and provisional liquidators). Similar personal information is also contained in the registers kept by companies which are open for public inspection.
Pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Companies Ordinance concerning the New Inspection Regime which were passed by the Legislative Council in July 2012 but had not fully commenced, correspondence addresses instead of URAs of directors and partial IDNs instead of full IDNs of directors, company secretaries and other relevant persons would be made available on the Register for public inspection. The URAs and full IDNs (“Protected Information”) would only be accessible by “specified persons” upon application. Similarly, companies may withhold from public inspection the Protected Information on the registers they have kept.
Implementation of the New Inspection Regime
Details of the phased implementation are as follows:-
- Phase 1
From 23 August 2021, companies may replace URAs of directors with their correspondence addresses, and replace full IDNs of directors and company secretaries with their partial IDNs on their own registers for public inspection;
- Phase 2
From 24 October 2022, Protected Information on the Index of Directors on the Register will be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial IDNs for public inspection. Protected Information contained in documents filed for registration after commencement of this phase will not be provided for public inspection. “Specified persons” could apply to the Registry for access to Protected Information of directors and other persons; and
- Phase 3
From 27 December 2023, data subjects could apply to the Registry for protecting from public inspection their Protected Information contained in documents registered with the Registry (“Withheld Information”), and replace such information with their correspondence addresses and partial IDNs. “Specified persons” could apply to the Registry for access to Withheld Information of directors and other persons.