Refreshed Companies website, director Prohibitions

This update from the Companies Office covers two topics: the recently refreshed Companies website, and a discussion about people prohibited from being directors.

Ross Van Der Schyff

Refreshed Companies website

A new-look Companies website has just gone live, with two websites having been created as part of the refresh.

The Companies Office website is the parent website, containing insights, articles, news, notices and legislative information about the Companies Office. The Companies Register website contains the register search, login access and help guides to support practitioners’ tasks.

This update focuses on the Companies Register website (www.companies.govt.nz), the home of the Companies Register application, as this is where practitioners and businesses will likely spend most of their time.

Please note, the register application with which readers will be familiar has not changed. Only the website itself has undergone a redesign and update, with some new functionality.

New features across the redesigned website which will be of assistance include:

  • redesigned navigation to make it easier to complete tasks quickly;
  • a manage and maintain section, where all the Register links are stored (previously the online services tab);
  • a new help centre that contains over 100 helpful guides (from choosing a type of company for a business to restoring a company to the Register, everything users need to know about the Register and their obligations can be found here);
  • an improved search facility; and
  • easy access to the other registers administered by the Companies Office (such as limited partnerships).

The refreshed website is now live – to check it out, please visit www.companies.govt.nz. For a video demonstrating key screens in the new website, visit https://youtu.be/UWW8S8jVe7U.

Redirects are in place from day one and will take users to the new pages on the new websites.

Director prohibitions

Section 385 of the Companies Act allows the Registrar of Companies to prohibit directors from being involved in the management of a company for a period of up to ten years, meaning that they are not able to take advantage of the limited liability status of a company.

In the 2016/17 financial year, the Registrar prohibited 38 people from being directors of limited liability companies.

“Companies are vehicles for people to do business, and just as some people should not be behind the wheel of a car, these people have shown they should not be directors, each having been involved in companies that failed due to mismanagement,” says Registrar Ross van der Schyff.

“Limited liability companies create an opportunity for people to open businesses and take risks, which are crucial in allowing New Zealanders to bring their innovative ideas to market. However, being a director comes with important responsibilities. We take breaches of the Companies Act very seriously,” says Mr van der Schyff.

Collectively, the 38 people prohibited from being directors of limited liability companies are banned for 209 years, with three directors receiving particularly lengthy bans of between eight and ten years.

“When directors fail in their duties, it can cause losses for creditors, create a level of distrust in the community, and jeopardise New Zealand’s reputation as a great place to do business,” says Mr van der Schyff.

“The World Bank ranks New Zealand as number one for both ‘ease of doing business’ and ‘starting a business’. I recognise the need to ensure that the ease of incorporating a company in New Zealand is balanced with appropriate regulatory action to ensure that those people who have demonstrated they are not fit to manage companies are prohibited from being directors.

“By prohibiting these people from being directors, the Registrar of Companies provides protection for the public from directors and managers of companies who have been unscrupulous, incompetent or irresponsible, and maintains the reputation of New Zealand.”

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