On Tuesday 27th September 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Limassol the CIBA members and guests welcomed Spyros Kokkinos, the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, to inform them on the recent and forthcoming developments at the Company Registrar Office and their impact on the international businesses and their professional advisors.
During his speech, Kokkinos said that since 2013, the Department of Registrar of Companies is undergoing a phase of major developments, covering all functions and competencies.
He mentioned that a detailed action plan has been formulated and approved by the Council of Ministers and a Project Team has been assigned, under the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, with the responsibility to identify, promote and implement all necessary actions and measures regarding the restructuring of the Department.
“Companies entered a new phase of activity concurrent with the present times. The restructuring and reorganisation of the Department, aims to create a modern and well-functioning Companies House adhering to best practices. To this end, specific actions are being initiated, including inter alia, electronic filing, online access to all documents, and simplification of procedures which will facilitate the enhancing of compliance. The objective being, the creation of an effective, swift and modern service” he said.
Following the recent years’ adverse economic developments, an effort is underway to cleanse and update the Register of Companies from non-active and non-compliant companies, with the obligation to file annual returns and accounts to the Registrar of Companies.
With regards to the facilitation of foreign investment and promotion of the island as an international business centre, Kokkinos said that a revision of Companies Law aiming to modernise it by inter alia, streamlining the process of registration and strengthening the enforcement powers of the Registrar to ensure adequate updating of information and de-registration of non-compliant companies, was voted into law, in June 2015.
Furthermore, Kokkinos said that recently the Companies Law was further amended in relation to the financial statements, administrative reports and the Auditor’s Report.
“Amongst the most striking features are the new thresholds for small medium and large companies and group of companies. Details are also given for compiling the financial statements and the administrative reports and the amendment introduces an element in the administrative reports, on corporate governance which is beneficial for creditors and investors. The latter reports are compulsory only for quoted companies in the Stock Exchanges”, he said
Another element in this very recent legislation is that the Auditor’s Report becomes compulsory for all private companies. The above reports are also compulsory for all overseas companies located in Cyprus.
In addition, the new business processes of Companies section have been modeled and change requirements have been defined as per systems upgrading, amendment of regulations, policy changes and operational restructuring. The gradual implementation of these changes will begin during the last quarter of 2016 and are expected to be fully operational with the development and implementation of a new integrated Registry System in 2019/2020.
In line with the above changes, the design of a customer-centric, informative, interactive, easy to navigate, and well-structured website for the Companies section, in line with the transformation programme is currently being developed.
Moreover, in the context of streamlining procedures, the Department is proceeding with the complete redesign of statutory Forms, as well as a revision of fees, in an effort to promote Cyprus as a competitive service centre for companies and other legal entities.
Finally Kokkinos said “the efforts to better serve the public are not concluded with the abovementioned measures but the Companies Section is under continuous scrutiny in order to be in touch with new developments in the companies’ field and the general economy.”