Share Register Access

For your information, changes to the Corporations Act have clarified when people can/cannot access the company’s Share Register.

In summary, the situation is:-

  • Pursuant to section 173(1) anyone – whether a shareholder or member of the public – may inspect the Share Register of any company (whether public or private/proprietary)
  • Under sec.173(3) a person seeking a copy of the register must make an application
  • Sec.173 (3A) states that the application must be in writing in the prescribed format and, pursuant to Regulation 2C.1.04 of the Corporations Regulations, must state the:
  • applicant’s name and address
  • purpose(s) for which the applicant seeks a copy of the register (whichcannot be for an improper purpose); ie, it must be for a “proper purpose”.
  • Regulation 2C.1.03 prescribes the following improper purposes for obtaining a copy of the register:
  • the solicitation of a donation from shareholders
  • the solicitation of shareholders by a broker
  • gathering information about the personal wealth of shareholders
  • making an unsolicited offer to purchase shares.

And sec.177 prescribes prohibited uses of information on the register:

  • to contact or send material/information to a shareholder
  • to disclose the register details to anyone else (who might contact or send anything to a shareholder).

But if a copy of the register is required for other than an improper/prohibited purpose the company cannot reasonably refuse to supply a copy.

  • It is an offence (under section 137 of the Criminal Code):
  • to make a false or misleading statement in an application for a copy of a register
  • to use a copy of the register for an improper purpose (unless approved by the company).

*Originally written by Company Secretary, an Australian virtual company secretary service.

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