A member of a company is commonly called a 'shareholder' and is the owner of the company. A member must be a person, a body corporate or a body politic (e.g. the State of Queensland). A member is also an entity that can own property, sue or be sued. A business name is not a legal entity and therefore cannot be a member.
All companies must have at least one member. There is no limit on the number of members a public company may have, but a proprietary company must have no more than 50 members who are not employees of the company.
Members of a company own the company but the company has a separate legal existence and the company's assets belong to the company. Similarly, members are not liable for company debts. Your financial obligation, as a member, is to pay the company any amount unpaid on your shares.
There are a number of ways you can become a member of a company, including being listed as a member at the time that the company is registered with ASIC or agreeing to become a member of a company already registered with us.
Different types of companies have different responsibilities for advising us about changes. Proprietary companies must notify us of any changes to member details and the share structure. A company's share register must contain the name and address of each member, the number of shares held, share classes and the amount paid and unpaid on the shares. The register is generally held at the company's registered office.
Anyone has the right to inspect a copy of the company's share register and to request a copy of the share register. However, you cannot obtain a copy of a register for an improper purpose, such as making an unsolicited offer to purchase shares or units off-market.
Members may inspect the minute books of the company and may request a copy of those books and/or a copy of the company's constitution.
Companies may charge fees in relation to the inspection and/or copying of company information.
Certain members in small proprietary companies may request the company to prepare a financial report and directors' report for a financial year and send the reports to all members.