As per new legislation, from March 1st 2018, every company incorporated in Hong Kong will be required to keep and maintain a register of all persons who have significant control of the company. The record must be updated as required and kept at the registered company address, even if there are no persons of significant control.
Companies listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, are exempt as they are subject to even stricter requirements under the Securities and Futures Ordinance.
An individual qualifies as having significant control if any of the following conditions are satisfied:
*It is important to note here that even when a person has significant influence, this is sufficient to have adequate significant control, regardless of their direct or indirect shareholding in a company.
A company is required to take reasonable steps to identify any PSCs involved in the business through research to anyone potentially classed as one within the structure or daily runnings of the business. The company must then serve notices respectively to each individual they find fall into one or more of the above conditions.
Failing to serve such notice will result in the company and its Directors having to pay a fine. Additionally, any person who receives such a notice will be liable to pay a fine if they do not to respond to the notice within one month.
A company’s register of significant controllers must contain:
The register is not available for public viewing to remain a degree of anonymity; however those who are mentioned by name on the register can request access to it without charge. Additionally, only the Hong Kong Companies Registry and any law enforcement agencies working on cases relating to the respective company can access the register, who must file a request with the Companies Registry.