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Why Do You Need a Company Secretary in Hong Kong?

Do you actually need a company secretary in Hong Kong?
A company secretary in Hong Kong is essential for ensuring legal compliance, managing administrative duties, and mitigating risks. They handle tasks like filing annual returns, maintaining the Significant Controllers Register, and organizing AGMs. Appointing a qualified company secretary not only meets statutory requirements but also enhances a company's credibility and operational efficiency.

In Hong Kong, the role of a company secretary is not merely a formality but a statutory requirement for all limited companies.

This role is crucial for ensuring that the company complies with local laws and regulations. Here's an in-depth look at why a company secretary is essential for businesses operating in Hong Kong.

Legal Requirement

One of the primary reasons a company secretary is necessary is that it is a legal obligation. According to Hong Kong’s Companies Ordinance, every limited company must appoint a company secretary within the first 14 days of incorporation.

Failure to comply can result in penalties and other legal complications.

Compliance and Governance

A company secretary ensures that the company adheres to the statutory requirements set by the Companies Registry and other regulatory bodies.

This includes:
  • Annual Returns Filing: The company secretary is responsible for filing an annual return with the Companies Registry within 42 days of the company’s anniversary date. This process involves a fee of HKD 105.

  • Business Registration Renewal: The company secretary also handles the renewal of the Business Registration (BR) certificate, which costs HKD 2,000 for the BR fee plus a levy of HKD 150.

  • Significant Controllers Register (SCR): Maintaining and updating the SCR is another critical task. The SCR includes a list of individuals or entities with significant control over the company, defined as owning more than 25% of shares or voting rights. The register must be accessible for inspection by law enforcement officers when required.

  • Annual General Meetings (AGMs): The company secretary organizes AGMs, where shareholders and directors review financial statements and appoint auditors if necessary.

Administrative Duties

A company secretary plays a pivotal role in the administrative functioning of the company.

Key tasks include:
  • Maintaining Company Records: Keeping accurate records of meetings, resolutions, and other corporate documents.

  • Updating Records: Ensuring that any changes in the company’s structure, such as the appointment or resignation of directors, are promptly recorded and reported.

  • Registered Office: Managing the registered office address where all official documents and notices are sent. This must be a physical address in Hong Kong and cannot be a P.O. box.

Risk Management

The role of the company secretary also extends to risk management. By ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, the company secretary helps mitigate risks associated with non-compliance, such as fines, penalties, and legal actions.

This is particularly important for protecting the company’s reputation and ensuring smooth operations.

Expertise and Professionalism

A qualified company secretary brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. They are well-versed in corporate governance practices, legal obligations, and administrative procedures.

Many company secretaries in Hong Kong hold a TCSP license (Trust and Company Service Providers), which signifies their professional competence and reliability.


In addition to their compliance and administrative roles, the company secretary often serves as a representative of the company in dealings with regulatory authorities, banks, and other institutions.

This can facilitate smoother interactions and enhance the company’s credibility.


While the services of a company secretary come at a cost, they are generally considered cost-effective in the long run.

The fees for these services are relatively affordable compared to the potential costs of non-compliance.

For example, company secretarial services in Hong Kong typically range from a few thousand HKD per year, which covers the essential compliance and administrative tasks.


The role of a company secretary in Hong Kong is indispensable for ensuring that a company operates within the legal framework and maintains good corporate governance.

From filing annual returns and maintaining the SCR to organizing AGMs and managing the registered office, the company secretary handles a wide range of critical tasks.

By appointing a competent company secretary, businesses can mitigate risks, enhance their credibility, and focus on their core operations without worrying about compliance issues.

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