- Hong Kong brings the Companies Register’s New Inspection Regime into operation phase by phase from August 2021 to December 2023 to limit the disclosure of personal data in the Companies Registry.
- Under Phase 2 of the new inspection regime, usual residential addresses and full identification numbers on the Index of Directors on the Companies Register are replaced with correspondence addresses and partial identification numbers for public inspection.
To provide greater protection of the privacy of sensitive personal data of company directors, Hong Kong brings the Companies Register’s New Inspection Regime into operation phase by phase from August 2021 to December 2023 to limit the disclosure of personal data in the Companies Registry (“CR”).
What is New Inspection Regime?
The significance of the new inspection regime primarily focuses on the removal of unrestrained public access to obtain the usual residential addresses (“URA”) of directors and full identification numbers (“IDN”) of the individual company officers contained in the CR. Under the new arrangement, for all documents which submit to the CR, only the correspondence addresses of directors and the partial IDN of directors, company secretaries and other relevant individuals will be made available for public inspection. Upon application made to the CR, the URA and full IDN of those individuals will only be made accessible to different groups of authorities or persons as specified in section 12(1) of the Companies (Residential Addresses and Identification Numbers) Regulation (“C(RAIN)R”), except for certain circumstances where such disclosure by the CR is permissible with an order of the Court or under section 58(3) of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622).
Phase I of the New Inspection Regime commenced on 16 August 2021.
Phase II of the new arrangement will be commenced on 24 October 2022; the details of significant changes will be discussed as follows.
Summary of the arrangement of New Inspection Regime Phase II
Protected Information on the Index of Directors on the Companies Register will be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial IDN for public inspection. According to Companies Registry External Circular No.3/2022 and C(RAIN)R, the reporting address of the director will be changed from the residential address to the correspondence address, and the new arrangement will be effective in Phase II. If the proposed correspondence address of the director is not the address of the company’s registered office, that director needs to notify the CR about the change of address within 15 days after the new arrangement has come to effect. Otherwise, the correspondence address of the individuals will be automatically replaced by the company’s registered office address, if there is no application for changing the address after the deadline mentioned above. After the implementation, only the “specified persons” can apply to the Registry for access to the protected information.
The arrangement of correspondence address after the implementation of the New Inspection regime Phase II.
Who can apply to the CR for access to the Protected Information after the commencement of Phase II?
The “specified persons” are provided by s. 12(1) of the C(RAIN)R, which includes:
- data subject
- a person who is authorised 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 person specified in the Schedule to the Regulation
- a solicitor or foreign lawyer who practices law in a law firm
- a certified public accountant (practising)
- a financial institution or designated non-financial businesses and professions
CW service on the arrangement of New Inspection Regime Phase II
CW provides services for assisting clients with changing the correspondence address and registered office address service. For more details, our corporate secretarial specialists can help you find out the new inspection regime and advise on the actions to ensure compliance.