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5 Benefits to Using a Digital Company Secretary in Hong Kong

digital company secretary

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Benefits of a Digital Company Secretary in Hong Kong
  • Instant Access: Documents are readily available on a cloud-based platform.
  • Increased Efficiency: Digitized records allow for quick retrieval and discussions.
  • No Hidden Pricing: Transparent pricing models with clear breakdowns of service costs.
  • Meeting Compliance Timelines: Automated operations minimize the risk of missed deadlines and penalties.
  • Better Communication: Technology facilitates seamless communication with all stakeholders.

When it comes to the efficient administration of your Hong Kong company, the role of an HK company secretary cannot be overemphasized.

One of the essential pillars of any company's corporate governance framework, a company secretary ensures that your company operates as per the law. 

Are company secretaries mandatory in Hong Kong?

Yes.

According to the Companies Ordinance, you cannot register a Hong Kong company unless you appoint a company secretary.

You cannot list the company on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange without appointing a qualified company secretary. 

What Are the Qualifications of an HK Company Secretary?

In Hong Kong, there are both recommended qualifications and legal requirements for becoming a company secretary. Here's a breakdown:

Recommended Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as business administration, law, finance, corporate governance, or a related area is a strong foundation.
  • Professional Qualification: Membership in the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) is a highly regarded professional qualification demonstrating expertise in corporate governance and secretarial duties.
  • Experience: Experience working in a similar role, particularly with companies of a similar size and complexity to yours, is valuable.

Legal Requirements:

  • Residency: The company secretary must be a natural person ordinarily resident in Hong Kong or a registered company incorporated in Hong Kong with a business address in the territory.
  • TCSP License: As of March 2018, any company acting as a company secretary must hold a valid Trust and Company Service Provider (TCSP) license.

Additional Skills & Qualities:

  • Strong Communication: Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential for conveying complex information clearly to various stakeholders.
  • Organizational Skills: The ability to manage multiple tasks efficiently and meet deadlines is crucial for this role.
  • Attention to Detail: A keen eye for detail is necessary to ensure accurate recordkeeping and compliance with regulations.
  • Understanding of Hong Kong Law: Familiarity with relevant Hong Kong company law and regulations is essential.

Exceptions:

  • Sole Director Company: If a company has only one director, that director is exempt from being the company secretary, but they cannot appoint another legal entity (like another company) to fill the role.

What Are the Functions of a Company Secretary, and How Are They Appointed?

A company secretary is responsible for maintaining records of all a company's statutory books and taking care of compliance requirements such as preparing and filing the annual returns, recording directors' appointments and resignations, and conducting the issue and transfer of shares.

According to Hong Kong laws, a company's directors or shareholders cannot perform a company secretary's duties.

You need to appoint a qualified company secretary who is registered with the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries and fulfills the other eligibility conditions under the Hong Kong Companies Ordinance. 

Needless to say, a company secretary is extremely vital to the governance and management of a company. 

hong kong company secretarial requirements

Why Is Opting for Digital Company Secretaries a Good Idea?

Traditionally, company secretaries operate out of brick-and-mortar offices.

As a result, they are only accessible by phone or email.

Even if you need a simple document, such as a copy of your business registration certificate, you will need to wait for it to get delivered to your office or arrange a visit to pick it up.

As Hong Kong is increasingly becoming the preferred hub for doing business by investors worldwide, there is a greater need to access information quickly to stay on top of your compliance obligations.

That's why using a digital company secretarial service is better for your business. 

Here are five reasons for having a digital company secretary: 

1. Instant Access

Most digital company secretarial service providers work on a cloud-based platform.

This ensures no lengthy or unnecessary email exchanges when you need to look up any document urgently.

It also reduces the chances of important requests slipping through the cracks. Thanks to the streamlined operations, you can get help from your company secretary in real time without getting caught up in an endless loop of emails or phone calls. 

2. Increased Efficiency 

Unlike physical company secretaries, a digital company secretary doesn't have to skim through heaps of paperwork to locate a single document.

Since the records are digitized, everything is available with a single click, whether you need bank statements, incorporation documents, or corporate resolutions. 

Apart from reducing the turnaround time, it also allows the company secretary to discuss any specific concerns you may have regarding your company's statutory compliance. 

3. No Hidden Pricing 

Most digital company secretaries in Hong Kong follow a SaaS pricing model.

You will usually find different pricing packages, such as paying a one-time fee for the mandatory services and opting for a subscription fee package for the rest of the services. 

With physical company secretaries, the final invoice may include unexpected surcharges or add-on charges, increasing the overall cost for you.

In contrast, a digital company secretary's pricing model is clearly specified along with a detailed break up of the price of every possible corporate action.

As a result, there are no last-minute surprises sprung on you every time an invoice is raised. 

4. Meeting Compliance Timelines

Hong Kong is facing a shortage of company secretaries.

Relying on physical secretaries can result in missing important timelines for completing compliance work. 

Also, remember that you may end up paying penalties for delayed filing.

Given that a digital company secretary's operations are entirely automated, the chances of missing deadlines are almost negligible.

5. Better Communication With all Stakeholders 

A competent company secretary in Hong Kong plays a crucial role in communicating with various stakeholders of the corporate ecosystem.

These include external participants (such as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Inland Revenue Department, and the Companies Registry) and internal participants (such as the company's directors or other officers).

Since digital company secretaries leverage technology in their day-to-day operations, it ensures seamless communication with all the players.

It also minimizes the touchpoints and saves the unnecessary waste of time. 

Final Words

A company secretary is not just a cog in the wheel — they are the wheels on which Hong Kong companies move forward.

That's why choosing the right company secretary is a high-priority item on every entrepreneur's checklist. 

Working with a digital company secretary is the smarter way of doing business in Hong Kong. Looking for someone to help you with corporate secretarial services?

With Air Corporate by your side, you can focus on your business while we take care of the rest. Speak with a member of our experienced team and learn how our company secretarial services can help you. 

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Vivian Au

For many years, I worked at big accounting and company secretary firms in Hong Kong. I started Air Corporate to make the life of entrepreneurs and SMEs easy.

Vivian Au

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