Hong Kong Company information are publicly available with a simple registration search.
Forget about business confidentiality and privacy, we live in a new era of transparency and everybody could access information.
A Hong Kong Company registration search will reveal the director(s) name and addresses with their passports number.
A Hong Kong Company registration name will also reveal the shareholders names, addresses, passports numbers, corporate shareholders names and addresses as well as additional information about the capital and the number of shares.
To access information about a Hong Kong Company you should go online and pay a small fee, at least not all the information are available free of charge as it is the case for the UK company house.
Less to say a small fee will not be a constraint to unwanted curiosity so how to protect you personal information ?
A ) by using Hong Kong nominee director services
B) by using Hong Kong nominee shareholder services
Hong Kong Company registration search could be performed on https://www.cr.gov.hk/
Hong Kong nominee director services are facing some reluctance by the banks during the onboarding process, the reasons behind privacy needs should be explained in details and the financial institution should be convinced of the treat created by a public exposure.
Hong Kong nominee shareholders services don’t pose the same issues when banking in Hong Kong, its a more common situation.
A nominee shareholder agreement is an additional layer of privacy to protect the ultimate beneficial owner of a company.
Because of the anti-money laundering rules and regulations, many countries organized public registers of beneficial owners and controllers of private companies. In such context a nominee shareholder could be proven ineffective in protecting the ultimate beneficial owner from public exposure.
But some countries, as Hong Kong, implemented a Significant Controllers Register which is NOT of public access, the only public exposure for the shareholders of a Hong Kong Company will remain the Company Registry accessible against payment.
The Hong Kong Significant Controllers Register is available to law enforcement and tax authorities and kept / maintained by the company secretary or a designated representative.
The use of nominee shareholder services in Hong Kong is efficient , in other countries , say UK, this is totally useless and will create additional questioning by Financial Institutions.
A nominee shareholder could be an individual or a corporate entity and the nominee shareholder agreement is basically a declaration of trust with an indemnify for the nominee.
Nominee shareholder services in Hong Kong are not trendy, this because of the additional burden when preparing a compliance report to open or to maintain the corporate bank account.
Nevertheless a nominee shareholder agreement will in Hong Kong protect the ultimate beneficial owners from unwanted public exposure and less to say its a necessity for residents in countries with high crime rates.