One of the most primary responsibilities for a company secretary is to write the minutes of a meeting. The meeting minutes contain all the important details about the discussion.
There are certain laws in Hong Kong for enterprises to maintain a record of all meetings and register the events and decisions.
Keep along as we describe the method of a meeting’s writing minutes, as well as the need to do so. Also, we will tell you how Vita Liberta can help you through this!
Meaning of Minutes of Meeting
The official record of every business activity is the minutes of a meeting, which esterification process about all the agendas, debates, and outcomes of the meeting. Also, it includes information on when the session and presence took place. Both business activities, be it a general meeting, a board meeting, or a committee meeting, must be reported in the minutes of the meeting.
Generally, Board meeting minutes fulfill several other essential functions:
- Provide the company with essential reference points when tracking progress.
- Sources of data for main stakeholders
- Can help educate exercises for board assessment
- Can mean the level of involvement of individual directors and commitment to discussions.
They ought to have a reliable and unbiased picture of what happened at the conference, documenting who attended, how conclusions were made, and the effects of voting and motions to serve these duties. Understandably, a first-time minute-taker can feel apprehensive, considering the weight attached to board meeting minutes. However, taking good meeting minutes would quickly become second nature with the right planning and a formal strategy
The Art and Science of Taking Meeting Minutes
Part art, part science, is the compilation of successful meeting minutes. In the scientific aspect, the secretary should make use of useful technologies for frameworks to offer a structure to execute to maintain accuracy, such as meeting minutes apps. However, deciding what to add and what to leave out is the art of taking good minutes.
It is important to remember that the minutes of the board meeting is not supposed to be a transcript of any word said at the meeting. If this is the case, much of the free-flowing discussion and challenge that is a characteristic of good board activities may be stifled, as management would not be able to log their viewpoints and thoughts entirely accurately. This is one of the reasons that it is unusual to have corporations make board room video and audio recordings. Minutes, instead, is intended to capture the spirit of the conversation and the judgments taken as a result, so that anybody who reads them will see at a glance what happened.
Minutes of a Meeting in Hong Kong: The Rules
The Companies Ordinance Cap 22 in Hong Kong provides rules for companies regarding how their meetings should be monitored.
- The record shall, in compliance with Section 619, be held at the registered office of the corporation or a place stated by Section 657.
- A business shall maintain, according to Section 618, documents consisting of motions approved by all shareholders and minutes of its general meetings. From the date of the conference, motion, or vote, you must hold the documents for at least ten years. When the corporation fails to do so, a fine must be paid by all the liable participants.
- In the case of a one-person corporation, if the decision is not a written agreement, the member must apply it within seven days.
- The record shall, in compliance with Section 619, be held at the registered office of the corporation or a place prescribed by Section 657.
Steps to Writing Minutes of a Meeting in Hong Kong
Before the Meeting: Preparation and Familiarization
Before the meeting itself, good meeting minutes begin early. Minute-takers should be familiar with the preferred structure and style of the prior minutes of the company, as the minutes of multiple meetings should be clear, particularly though the secretary has modified in the intervening period.
Build a template where minutes are written. You should be able to build a minute’s template that draws essential details such as meeting times, attendees, and agenda items automatically if you have meeting minutes functionality incorporated into a board platform such as Diligent.
If you’re unfamiliar with the directors, maybe it’s the first time you’ve taken this board’s minutes, it’s a smart idea to check out what they look like before the conference. That way, you can be confident you attribute the relevant points of debate and votes to the right director.
During the Meeting: Getting All the Important Information
You should have a good foundation around which to formulate your minutes if you’ve planned a blueprint. There are formalities to be followed at the outset of the conference, which must be registered. The minutes of standard meetings should include:
- The venue, or platform if the meeting is being held virtually
- Start time
- Participants and non-attendance apologies (and if the meeting is part-virtual, part inperson, recording who is attending virtually)
- Confirmation that a quorum for voting purposes is present
- Agenda changes
The main business of the meeting can continue and should proceed in the order stated on the agenda until these points have been addressed. Again, before the discussion, these elements should be entered into a framework such that you can concentrate on capturing the essence of the proceedings, instead of wasting time composing headings.
It is important to use neutral terminology and take a systematic approach when concluding discussions. In past tense and third person, minutes should be written. Statements should not be written verbatim, but they should take care of the general points of the discussion. Ask the chair to explain it if you miss an argument or are unaware of the exact language of a motion. For this purpose, sitting next to the chair may be helpful so that you can ask questions without disturbing the meeting.
For the formal aspects of the meeting, such as voting, it is helpful to provide certain primary words to hand over. In its advice on minute-taking, the Governance Institute advises that when recording a vote, the traditional phrase: “It was resolved that…” should be used. “The format used for committee recommendations is: “It was decided that…
If decisions are determined, they should be minuted and identified alongside the director responsible for conducting them. Meeting minutes software enables directors to be remotely delegated to actions and they can then be recorded, with alerts sent, if necessary, to facilitate improvement. This is a neat benefit of having a solution for digital minutes that brings meaning as a business record to the minutes.
The meeting will be adjourned until each agenda item has been debated and all votes and motions are conducted. The minute-taker should remember, at this stage, the time the meeting ended.
After the Meeting: Write Up Minutes Quickly
It is essential to write up the minutes within a specified timeframe once the meeting is over, so the details are still acquainted. Bear in mind that if a director questions the minutes at the next board meeting, you need to be sure that they are correct, and if you write them up quickly, the assurance is easier to obtain.
The length of time it takes for meeting minutes to be written depends somewhat on how effective the template is and the capacity during the meeting itself to compose notes. If you have populated the template of your minutes and made good notes, it will just be important to review and clean up. You will need to spend more time if your notes are less structured. That said, even seasoned meeting minute takers realize that it takes time for good meeting minutes and should not be hurried.
Store and Share Minutes Safely
When the drafting minutes are complete, to check that they are correct and allow any changes, they should be exchanged with the chair of the board. Again, within a few days of the meeting, this is better done, although for the chair it is fresh in mind, too.
They are usually used as an element for consensus by directors in the next meeting after the chair has accepted the minutes. Alternatively, they should be shared and accepted online if you are using a board portal, which decreases the time taken to complete the minute-taking process.
The last action after the minutes is finalized is to ensure that they are safely preserved for future reference. The Companies Act specifies that minutes must be kept for ten years, which is something that used to be achieved with a lock and key kept under dusty file cabinets. A central archive for board content, such as a protected board site, in today’s digital counterpart. Organizations should avoid storing minutes of past meetings on personal hard drives or proprietary business systems as they may be vulnerable to shifts in employees and interruption of the network. A stable gateway guarantees that they are still open but secured at the same time only by the approved parties.
How Vita Liberta can help you?
It is obvious from this blog that taking minutes from a meeting in Hong Kong is mandated by statute. The company secretary should maintain the records of all the meetings of the general, board, and committee. A good company secretary would ensure that all meetings go properly and that every crucial aspect is well reported.
Vita Liberta will offer secretarial services to state-of-the-art firms at a reasonable rate. Our welltrained staff has exceptional talents in conversation, publishing, and administration. Feel free to contact us today!
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