The Government recently announced that the new Companies Ordinance (“New Companies Ordinance“) will take effect on 3 March 2014. This alert is to give you a heads-up on the implications of this new law, particularly in relation to your Memorandum and Articles of Association and how Deacons can help you and your organisation get prepared for it.
This legal alert is of particular importance to in-house lawyers, company secretaries, company directors and others involved in company secretarial affairs.
From 3 March 2014, all existing provisions of the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) (“Existing Companies Ordinance“), except for those relating to winding-up and insolvency of companies and prospectuses, will be repealed. The Existing Companies Ordinance will be renamed as the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance. The prospectus regime, with possible reforms, is intended to be incorporated in the Securities and Futures Ordinance. All the other provisions relating to Hong Kong companies will be contained in the New Companies Ordinance.
自2014年3月3日起， 《公司条例》（第32章）（「现有公司条例」）中除有关公司清盘及无力偿债以及招股章程的条文外，所有其他现有条文将被废除。 现有公司条例将被重新命名为《公司（清盘及杂项条文）条例》。 有关招股章程制度， 待经过若干修订后， 拟被纳入《证券及期货条例》中。 有关香港公司的其他所有条文将载于新公司条例中。
The New Companies Ordinance will be one of the largest pieces of legislation in Hong Kong, containing 21 parts, 921 sections and 11 schedules.
Updating your Articles of Association
The reformed legislation will bring about significant changes to the Articles of Association (“Articles“) of a Hong Kong company. The New Companies Ordinance provides for new sets of Model Articles for adoption in whole or in part by companies incorporated after 3 March 2014. These Model Articles differ significantly in form from Table A and Table C of the Existing Companies Ordinance on which the current Articles of most companies in Hong Kong are based.
该改革后的法例将为香港公司的组织章程细则（「章程细则」）带来重大变更。新公司条例规定了新一套的章程细则范本，可供2014年3月3日后注册成立的公司对此作出全部或部份采纳。 该等章程细则范本在格式上与香港大部分公司目前章程细则所依据的现有公司条例的A 表及C表极不相同。
There is strictly no immediate requirement to update your Memorandum of Association (“Memorandum“) and Articles as there are deeming provisions in the New Companies Ordinance which essentially means companies may continue to use their existing Memorandum and Articles, to the extent not automatically modified by the New Companies Ordinance. The New Companies Ordinance will abolish the requirement of Memorandum of Association and relevant information in the Memorandum of an existing company will be deemed incorporated in its Articles as from 3 March 2014.
There will however be obvious benefits in updating your Memorandum and Articles to bring them in line with the new requirements. Our Corporate Commercial Group will be delighted to speak to you about your needs.
We are also updating our standard Articles for newly incorporated companies to take into account the new mandatory requirements as well as incorporating provisions which in our view will enhance corporate governance by the company.
Understanding the new provisions
The New Companies Ordinance will bring about some new requirements of corporate governance and information disclosure. In order to assist clients to familiarise themselves with the new requirements, we will be sending you a series of legal updates on this topic in the next couple of months leading up to March 2014.
Next steps – how we can help
下一步 – 本行可为贵司提供之协助
We have formed a dedicated team to assist clients in reviewing and updating their Articles and to provide related training and advice.
If you would like more tailored advice or in-house training, we would be pleased to discuss this with you. Please contact one of our partners below.