In brief - Restricted access aimed at unsolicited share
The government recently brought into force new laws regulating
access to share registers. Although aimed primarily at unsolicited
share offers, the Corporations Amendment (No 1) Act 2010
restricts access to registers for a far wider range of users.
How the Act works
Previously any person could access information from a share
register, provided they paid the necessary fee. The only legal
limitation was that they could not subsequently use the information
for a purpose unrelated to the shareholding.
Under the new Act, a person who applies to access the register
will have to disclose to the company the purpose for which they
intend to use the information. If that is a "prescribed
purpose", the company will have the right to refuse
What is a prescribed purpose?
The Corporations Amendment Regulations 2010 (No. 10)
define a prescribed purpose as:
Specific groups in the community (such as charities) soliciting
donations from shareholders
Brokers soliciting clients
Obtaining information about the personal wealth of clients
Making off-market offers to purchase securities (other than for
a takeover of an unlisted company)
Problematic consequences of the new laws
The new rules tip the balance in favour of companies. In
practice, companies should be entitled to block approaches by share
raiders like David Tweed. However, it may also allow companies to
block investigations by financial journalists, leading to concerns
this may give companies a convenient means of obstructing
legitimate media inquiries.
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