Non-publication of directors' residential addresses – developments in 2021

type
Policy and bills
author
By Institute of Directors
date
23 Dec 2021
read time
2 min to read
rows of black lockers

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) consulted on the introduction of Director Identification Numbers (DINs) in 2017 and 2018 noting the following benefits:

  • they would provide an accurate way to distinguish between directors with similar names and identify which company directorships a person holds
  • they would make it easier for creditors and others doing business with a company to track a director
  • they would help government agencies to identify and locate directors with obligations under their legislation and inform proactive enforcement activities
  • they would help increase the accuracy of the Register, for example, by assisting the Companies Office to identify people who are disqualified from being a director and helping other agencies identify cases for referral to the Companies Office for investigation
  • it would be quicker for directors of multiple companies to update their details on the Register as they would only have to update one record
  • introducing an identity verification process should provide greater certainty about a director’s identity and reduce the possibility of someone using a fake identity.

Removal of requirement to publish director’s residential addresses

MBIE’s June 2018 discussion paper considered whether it was appropriate to do away with publishing director’s residential addresses on the companies register if a director identification number (DIN) system was introduced.

The IoD supported DINs and also removing directors’ residential addresses from the register and substituting them with a service address. The IoD highlighted concerns about directors’ residential addresses being publically available.

However, progress has been slow and these matters have been combined with another initiative aimed at increasing the transparency of beneficial owners of companies and limited partnerships (eg via a public register) as a measure to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. MBIE is now working on how this will all operate in practice and stakeholder consultation is expected. 

Proposed private members bill by the ACT party.

Meanwhile, a proposed members Companies (Non-publication of Directors’ Residential Addresses) Amendment Bill has been written by ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden. (Proposed members' bills require the support of 61 or more members of Parliament who are not part of the Executive to be introduced – otherwise they await being drawn from a members' bill ballot. Currently the bill is supported by ACT’s 10 MP’s).

The intention of the bill is to give directors of companies the choice if they want to make their residential address publicly available on the companies register. It would:

  • Give directors the ability to opt out of publicly displaying their residential address
  • Allow for the disclosure of a director’s residential address in prescribed circumstances, including facilitating the service of legal documents.

The Bill provides in the explanatory note that:

  • The requirement that the residential addresses of all company directors are public is a breach of their privacy and exposes them up to potential abuse, harassment and could even place the director or directors of a company in danger.
  • There is no public need to know the addresses of directors and it should be for a company director to determine if the public should have access to their home address; and
  • There would still be a requirement for a director to register their residential address with the Companies Office, but this would only be used for internal use.

We will continue to provide updates on this matter and progress of the bill.    

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