Every company incorporated in Hong Kong under the Companies Act is required to have at least one director.
A director is an individual who is elected or appointed to make decisions, set goals and manage a company's affairs.
The directors' personal details and key information, including their Director Identification Number, are recorded on the Companies Register.
What is a Director Identification Number?
A Director Identification Number is a unique identifier that a director is required to hold for the purposes of correct identification and to prevent the use of false or fraudulent director identities when liaising with clients, other companies, and regulatory bodies.
It can be found right below their signature on an important document, contract, or letter.
Through this 8-digit number, the government keeps a database of all company directors in Hong Kong.
It is an 8-digit unique identification number allocated to each director of a company by the government.
There is no need to renew a director identification number after a certain period of time as the number is valid for a lifetime.
Regardless of how many companies an individual is a director of, their director identification number will always remain the same.
Director Identification Numbers in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Institute of Directors issued a statement in April 2021 regarding new arrangements for public inspection of the Companies Register.
This public inspection of the Companies Register aims to determine the identity of a director of a particular company.
Under the new proposed system, directors will only be required to provide a correspondence address to the Companies Register where only a part of their identification number will be visible.
The goal is simply to verify a director's identity and obtain the necessary information to ensure all directors are held accountable for their actions.
Other jurisdictions will inspire the system with similar protocols to ensure that every director's personal information remains confidential and protected.
This includes Australia and India, which have previously introduced official Director Identification Numbers for all company directors.
In Australia, more than 2 million directors are required to transition to the new director identification system by November 2022.
Why Are Director Identification Numbers Important?
Regulatory authorities use a director identification number for many compliance-related reasons.
Firstly, the ability to track and identify a director identification number prevents the use of false or fraudulent director identities.
Secondly, it provides greater convenience for administrators and regulators to trace a director's involvement with a particular transaction or company over a period of time.
Lastly, they identify director involvement in illegal activity.
This prevents directors from getting involved in such activities in the first place and ensures that they are held accountable.
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