A MAJOR consultation is under way on a draft Companies Bill 2013 to consolidate, modernise and clarify the island’s company law.
Led by the Treasury and supported by the Department of Economic Development, the consultation is open for an extended period of 18 weeks in recognition of the volume of the legislation, which runs to more than 900 clauses.
There are also proposals for a separate Foreign Companies Bill to cover ‘F-register’ companies that do business in the Isle of Man but are incorporated elsewhere.
The consultation document explains: ‘What currently exists is a series of separate Acts that must be cross referenced with each other. These are the Companies Acts 1931 – 2004.
‘This has created a situation where some provisions are perfectly adequate and remain fit for the purpose, while others have been amended piecemeal, resulting in legislation that is not necessarily always entirely clear.
‘The current legislation is without doubt difficult to navigate and not particularly user-friendly.’
Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK urged everyone involved with companies in the island, including those doing purely local business as well as international concerns, to take notice of the consultation.
Mr Teare said: ‘The modernisation of Manx company law is a huge exercise but it needs to be done if the island is to hold its lead as a jurisdiction that is both business-friendly and internationally responsible.
‘This is a major piece of legislation, both in terms of its size and its economic importance, and by responding to the consultation the business community can help us to make sure it is right for the island.’
Alan Crowe MLC, member of the Department of Economic Development with responsibility for financial services and the Companies Registry, said: ‘Up to date compliant and competitive legislation is important to develop to remain a leading international business centre and we are supportive of Treasury in this drive.
‘We would like to encourage industry to make its views known in order that a first class result is developed.’
Mr Crowe added: ‘The Bill will also make provision in legislation for the use of electronic filing which is being introduced at the Companies Registry to further enhance efficiency and service to our customers.’
The consultation closes on Friday May 17, 2013.
The consultation document along with the draft Companies Bill 2013 and Foreign Companies Bill 2013 can be found at http://www.gov.im/ConsultationDetail.gov?id=359