Questions and answers about the changes to confirming authority

On 5 September 2019 the Companies Office changed the way we confirm authority to manage information on the Companies Register

Below are some questions and answers about the changes we've made.

Why is the Companies Office changing the way we confirm authority?

In a fast-changing world the Companies Office need to continuously review our business processes and the integrity of our registers. Following a recent review of our companies register authority model, we identified the following improvements including:

  • More options for self-service of authority delegations
  • Clarification that the role of the Companies Office is to ‘confirm’ rather than to ‘approve’ authority granted by companies to agents
  • Using identity verification services (such as Driver Licence and Passport) to confirm the identity of authority requestors and delegators

Do the new methods apply to existing companies that I have authority over?

There is no impact on any existing Authorities held by you or your organisation. The new methods of ‘confirming’ authority will only apply to any companies over which you need to confirm authority in the future, e.g. for new clients.

Do the new methods replace the 'Company Key' and 'Request from Director' methods?

These methods will still be available, where they are available for a particular company.

Do the new methods affect the process for incorporating a new company? Do we need a Letter of Authorisation for this process?

The new authority model does not affect the process of incorporating a new company in any way.

Do the new methods only apply to authority requests for an individual, or do they also apply to a firm (organisation)?

The new authority model does not change the relationship between individuals and the firm. Any individuals who are associated with an organisation, that has authority over a company, will continue to do so. Where an individual associated with your organisation confirms authority over a new company on behalf of your organisation, all associated individuals will have authority over that company.

Do all users within our organisation need to verify their own identity?

From the 5th September onwards, when your firm needs to confirm authority over a new company (i.e. a new client whose company you do not yet have authority over), the individual who submits the request will be required to have their own identity verified just once, if they have not done so before. On successful completion of the new authority request, the other individuals who are associated with your firm in the register will automatically gain authority, as they would have before these changes.

If an organisation has authority, and the authority was gained by an individual who has left the organisation, what happens with the verification?

Verification of identity is at an individual level, Authority is at an individual OR organisation level. Therefore if an individual requests authority on behalf of an organisation they belong to, all individuals linked to the organisation will have authority. When the individual leaves the organisation, the organisation will still have the authority. The key thing to understand is ‘who has administrator rights’ for your account on the companies register; that person will be able to remove any staff who no longer work for your company, and add any new staff.

Does the Companies Office accept any other form of ID for a Director, i.e. if they don’t have an NZ Driver Licence or Passport?

The only ID we will accept for the ‘Director Identification’ service is an NZ Driver Licence or Passport. If the director or person requesting authority does not have either of these, another option is to choose the ‘Letter of Authorisation’ method, whereby an overseas Driver Licence or Passport can be uploaded (or faxed) and will be verified by the Companies Office.

What is the key difference between the old Letter of Authority form and the new Letter of Authorisation form?

The new Letter of Authorisation form now requires the Director’s signature.

Are we able to submit our organisation’s Client Engagement letter, instead of the Companies Office Letter of Authorisation?

You can use your own Client Engagement letter as long as it has ALL of the information that we require on our template; particularly ensuring that the company director has signed the letter, and it is clear who they are delegating authority to.

What happens if the Director’s name on the Register does not match their ID?

You will need to enter the Director’s name exactly as it appears on their ID. If this does not match the details on the Companies Register, you can confirm authority using the Letter of Authorisation method (or one of the other methods) as a back-up, and once authority has been granted, you can access the Directors details on the Register and amend them to ensure it matches the name on the ID used.

What happens if the Director Identity verification fails?

Check the following:

  1. The director’s name on the register and name on the ID matches.
  2. The director’s date of birth on the register matches the date of birth on the ID.
  3. The ID is valid (hasn’t expired).
  4. The version number is correct (if Driver Licence used)
  5. The details have been keyed in correctly.

What happens if the User (Agent) Identify verification fails?

Check the following:

  1. The user’s account name on the register and name on the ID matches.
  2. The user’s date of birth on the register matches the date of birth on the ID.
  3. The ID is valid (hasn’t expired).
  4. The version number is correct (if Driver Licence used)
  5. The details have been keyed in correctly.

Where do I find the new Letter of Authorisation form?

What if I have already filled out the old letter of authority?

We will accept the old form for a limited period of time, whilst our customers adjust to the new methods.

Does the new Letter of Authorisation support e-signatures?

Yes as long as it fits our technical requirements.

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