The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 (“the Amendment Ordinance”) introduces new requirements on the keeping of significant controllers registers by companies. The Amendment Ordinance will come into operation on 1 March 2018.
To enhance transparency of corporate beneficial ownership in order to fulfil Hong Kong’s international obligations, the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 622) is amended to require a company incorporated in Hong Kong to obtain and maintain up-to-date beneficial ownership information by way of keeping a Significant Controllers Register. The Register should be open for inspection by law enforcement officers upon demand.
Also, every Hong Kong company must designate at least one person as its representative to provide assistance relating to the company’s SCR to a law enforcement officer. A company’s designated representative must be one of the following:
- A member, director or an employee of the company who is a natural person resident in Hong Kong; or
- An accounting professional, a legal professional or a TCSP licensee as defined in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance, Cap. 615 (“AMLO”). Many large secretarial firms in Hong Kong are TCSP licensed.