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30-Jan-2013

The first batch of subsidiary legislation for the new Companies Ordinance's implementation will be gazetted on February 1, the Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau said today.
 
Five pieces of subsidiary legislation to be introduced are the Companies (Words & Expressions in Company Names) Order, the Companies (Disclosure of Company Name & Liability Status) Regulation, the Companies (Accounting Standards (Prescribed Body)) Regulation, the Companies (Directors' Report) Regulation and the Companies (Summary Financial Reports) Regulation.
 
The new legislation will set out relevant requirements concerning company names, financial reporting and directors' reports and related matters. It does not include any subsidiary legislation relating to the inspection of the Companies Register under the new Companies Ordinance.
After gathering public views on the matter in 2009-2010, the new arrangement was introduced to satisfy the public need to access information, while protecting the privacy of more than a million existing and former directors. The Administration seeks to strike a reasonable balance between the two.
The Government notes the media has recently expressed views over the new arrangement, and the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data has indicated his support for enhancing the protection of personal data on the Companies Register by improving the inspection regime.
The administration is consulting the commissioner on the relevant subsidiary legislation's preparation, adding it will continue to gauge public views on the way forward and will follow up on the matter with the Legislative Council. Subsidiary legislation relating to this new arrangement is expected to be tabled in May this year.
The new Companies Ordinance, which LegCo passed on July 12, 2012, provides a modernised legal framework for companies' incorporation and operation in Hong Kong. Its objectives are to enhance corporate governance, improve regulation, facilitate business and modernise the law to strengthen Hong Kong's competitiveness as a corporate domicile and enhance its status as a major international commercial and financial centre.
The subsidiary legislation will be brought into operation together with the new Companies Ordinance. 

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