Companies / Oct 26, 2021

Director Identification Numbers

Brent Jones
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ASIC have corresponded with ASIC Registered Agents to inform them of the upcoming introduction of Director identification numbers (director ID) expected to be available from November 2021.

Director ID is being delivered under the Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program.

  • The MBR program will bring together the Australian Business Register (ABR) and more than 30 Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) registers in one place – the Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS).
  • The program will progressively roll out between 2021 and 2024. For now, there will be no change to how you register, search, and get extracts of the registers, and interactions with the ABR and ASIC remains the same.
  • Director ID will be the first service delivered by ABRS and will be available via the  Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) website.
  • A director ID is a unique number given to an existing or intending director who has verified their identity with the Registrar.
  • A director ID is issued to a person forever.
  • A person will keep their director ID even if they stop being a company director, change their name or move interstate or overseas.
  • Director ID is being introduced to provide traceability of a director’s relationships over time, and across companies, to assist regulators and external administrators to investigate a director’s involvement in what may be repeated unlawful activity, including illegal phoenix activity.
  • All directors of a company or body corporate registered under the Corporations Act 2001 or a corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 will be required to apply for a director ID.
  • Both existing and new directors will need to apply.

The director ID service is undergoing rigorous performance testing over the coming weeks to ensure the system is ready to progress to public beta, with the service expected to be available in November 2021.

When will directors need to apply?

Transitional arrangements will allow directors to become familiar with the new requirement.

Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) Appointment of directorsWhen they need to apply
Existing directors appointed on or before 31 October 2021By 30 November 2022
New directors appointed between 1 November 2021 to 4 April 2022 (inclusive)Within 28 days of appointment
New directors appointed from 5 April 2022Before appointment
  Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) Appointment of directors  When they need to apply
Existing directors appointed on or before 31 October 2022By 30 November 2023
New directors appointed after 1 November 2022Must apply before appointment*

Throughout the transition period for director ID, we will assist directors to understand their obligations and support them to apply. During 2022, we will contact newly appointed and existing directors to discuss their registration requirements and provide guidance on how they can apply.

We will work with directors who don’t apply in time to notify and support them where we can and if we find there is persistent non-compliance, we have provision under the legislation to take firmer action, which may include making referrals to ASIC to conduct enforcement activities

How will directors apply?

Each person must apply for their own director ID. No one can apply on their behalf unless the Registrar is satisfied that the individual is unable to apply themselves.

Directors will be able to apply online at ABRS.gov.au. The online application utilises a standard strength myGovID.

For those unable to use the online service or obtain a myGovID, the abrs.gov.au website provides specific guidance to guide applicants (residing in and outside Australia) through the identification requirements.

How can agents assist their impacted clients?

  • An agent or advisor cannot apply on behalf of the director, but they can still provide assistance to their clients by providing guidance on the verification and application process, including if their client is required to get a director ID.
  • Agents can support their clients by:

a. letting them know about the new requirement, when and how to apply

b. encouraging their clients to set up their myGovID to a Standard identity strength, if they have not done so already, and

c. guide and support their clients through the process of applying for a director ID.

Agents should also note:

  • For now, there will be no change to ASIC online transactions (or forms) to cater for the collection or the use of the director ID number. This will take place in the future as the ABRS builds the new registry platform expected in 2023. Therefore, there is no requirement to include reference to director ID numbers in your ASIC lodgements.
  • Some commercial software providers have indicated that they will be making provision for promotion of director ID key messages through their products along with the collection and storage of the director ID number for future use. You may need to check this functionality with your software provider.
  • The application services for director ID numbers through the abrs.gov.au website will be available in November.

In closing, the ABRS website is the source of truth for all users seeking information on director ID and the ABRS. To support this, a range of content will be produced to educate audiences on director ID requirements and how to apply. This may include how-to videos, podcasts or webinars and articles through our channels, networks and in partnership with other agencies such as ASIC, ORIC and ACNC.

We’d greatly appreciate you sharing this information with your colleagues.

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