News Releases

Cook Islands | 12 December 2019

Cook Islands Launches Registry to Improve Business, Increase Finance with Support from ADB and New Zealand

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Representatives from the Cook Islands Ministry of Justice, ADB's Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, and Paradigm Apps at the launch of the new Online Companies, Incorporated Societies, and Personal Property Securities Registry in Rarotonga.

RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS (12 December 2019) — A new online registry will help improve the efficiency of doing business in the Cook Islands, making it easier for businesses and individuals to access much-needed finance to help expand and develop their operations and contribute to job creation and inclusive growth.

The multipurpose Companies, Incorporated Societies, and Personal Property Securities Registry, launched by the Ministry of Justice, was jointly funded by the Government of the Cook Islands, the Government of New Zealand, and the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).

Now live at, the registry allows users to file, access, and search company records, incorporated societies, and personal property securities records—all from one integrated resource.

“This innovative registry will be a great time-saver for businesses in the Cook Islands. It is easy to use, and creates a paperless, online process for people to register their companies or incorporated societies, lodge their annual returns, and search for or update company details,” said the Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Mr. Tamatoa Jonassen. “This will lower the costs of doing business and increase the transparency of company operations.”

The registry also simplifies all aspects of loan processing for banks by allowing lenders to register security interests over movable assets—such as machinery, accounts receivable, or inventory—that borrowers have pledged as collateral for loans, and to verify that the asset has not already been pledged elsewhere.

“Access to credit is a critical driver of economic growth. It allows successful businesses to grow, and for jobs and wealth to be created,” said the Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office Ms. Lotte Schou-Zibell. “The registry facilitates this by making lending secured against movable assets safe and convenient. Since most land in the Cook Islands is customary, this is crucial to helping businesses unlock the value of other types of assets.”

The registry will also help facilitate the administration of the Cook Islands’ new, modernized Companies Act, the Personal Property Securities Act, and the Incorporated Societies (Amendment) Act, which were passed by Parliament in 2017. These reforms are part of a wider, regional effort by PSDI to assist Pacific countries to introduce modern business laws that are tailored to their individual needs.

Established in 2006, PSDI is a technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with ADB, and the governments of Australia and New Zealand. PSDI works with ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and support inclusive, private sector-led economic growth.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.