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Industry Updates

Hong Kong Corporate Inspection Regime Enters Third Phase

01 Mar 2024




The third phase of Hong Kong's Corporate Inspection Regime has now come into effect, which allows directors and other relevant individuals to make an application to withhold their protected personal information from public inspection.

This latest phase of the Inspection Regime commenced on 27 December 2023, having been initially introduced in 2021 amid concern over the need to protect personal data, in particular the ease in which personal information of directors and company secretaries can be obtained from the Companies Register. 

Protection of Personal Information

The new Inspection Regime under the Companies Ordinance (Cap 622) applies to Hong Kong incorporated companies and registered non-Hong Kong companies, with the aim of enhancing protection of sensitive information while maintaining transparency. Under the previous regulations, the director or representative's residential address and full identification number was publicly accessible. Under the new regime, this protected information can be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial ID numbers.

After the initial phase allowed these details to be replaced by companies on their own registers for public inspection, Phase 2 provided from 24 October 2022 that protected information contained in documents filed for registration is not provided for public inspection and is replaced with the correspondence addresses and partial ID numbers. Specified Persons, such as a liquidator, trustee, public officer, or other practising professional, may still apply to the Registry for access to protected information.

Phase 3 – What You Need to Know

The implementation of Phase 3 now allows any director or relevant person to apply to the Registry to disallow disclosure of personal information within documents filed with the Registry before the commencement of Phase 2. The personal information will then be replaced with correspondence addresses and partial ID numbers and Specified Persons will still be able to apply for access.

The commencement of Phase 3 of the Corporate Inspection Regime does not automatically protect such sensitive information on data subjects that disclosed details to the registry prior to 24 October 2022. This information will remain available for public inspection unless an application is made to prevent public disclosure, in which case, correspondence addresses and partial ID numbers will be displayed. 

Corporate Inspection Regime – Next Steps

The Maples Group's fiduciary team in Hong Kong can make the relevant applications to the Companies Registry to protect personal and sensitive information for clients under the new Corporate Inspection Regime. Our fiduciary professionals have expert knowledge of the corporate and regulatory environment in Hong Kong, interacting regularly with the Companies Registry, offering a range of registration and incorporation services. 

The Maples Group's presence in Hong Kong is well-established, with over 300 employees since opening nearly 30-years ago. In 2020, we moved to new larger premises in Hong Kong to facilitate the Group's future growth. In addition to fiduciary services, we provide a full suite of fund services from Hong Kong, as well as time-zone sensitive Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and Irish legal services through our international law firm, Maples and Calder.

If you have any questions about the Corporate Inspection Regime in Hong Kong or wish to take steps to protect sensitive information on the Companies Register, please do not hesitate to reach out to your usual Maples Group contact or any of the professionals below.

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