New Zealand Law Society - New Registrar of Companies looks forward

New Registrar of Companies looks forward

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The new Registrar of Companies, Ross van der Schyff, was appointed to the role in February 2017. In an update provided by the New Zealand Companies Office, he introduces himself and reflects on the progress made under his predecessor Mandy McDonald. Ross also looks ahead and discusses his focus for 2017 and beyond.

You were appointed as General Manager of Business Integrity Services, Market Services at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in February. As General Manager you hold 15 statutory officer roles, including most notably, the Registrar of Companies and Registrar of Personal Property Securities. Tell us what led you to this role today.

Photo of Ross van der Schyff

I’ve held a number of senior public service roles within MBIE Market Services, including General Manager of Resolution Services and Service Support and Design. I also managed the Insolvency and Trustee Service and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand for a time, so I’m familiar with the environment and ambit of the role ahead. Prior to entering the public service in 2003 I was a partner in a law firm heading its insolvency division.

So you’ve worked with the previous registrar, Mandy McDonald. How do you summarise her contribution to the business environment in New Zealand?

In her time as registrar Mandy oversaw some significant projects that contributed to the ease of doing business in New Zealand.  

  • The Companies and Limited Partnership Amendment Acts aimed at reducing misuse of the New Zealand registers.
  • The Disclose Register for managed investment schemes and product offers under the Financial Markets Conduct Act.
  • The roll out of the New Zealand Business Number, now well on the way towards changing the way businesses interact with government and between themselves.

That’s quite a list of achievements!

It's early days in your new role, but can you tell us where you expect your focus will be for 2017?

We do have a full work plan already underway for 2017, including a technological refresh of the Personal Property Securities Register. We’re also focused on continuing to extend uptake of the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) Programme now that the NZBN can be issued to all forms of businesses including sole traders, partnerships etc.  

I do feel one area we need to put our minds to this year is in balancing the need to protect the integrity of our registers and maintaining our World Bank ranking as number one in the ease of doing business.

We already have a strong system in place to monitor and act against any misuse of or actions that could put at risk the integrity of the registers.   But we can’t rest on our laurels, I believe we can use our connections across government to help us to identify those who do not meet their obligations or are falling short of the register rules.

We also have an obligation to ensure we make it as easy as possible to comply with the rules and for Companies to meet their statutory obligations.  In 2017 we’ll begin rolling out a series of improvements to our websites, designed to improve the user experience and make it easier to meet the requirements of the law.