The Government's overhaul of companies law has been designed to dovetail with the specific needs of companies and is not simply a compilation of laws taken from other jurisdictions, according to Ermanno Pascutto, who oversaw the review. Mr Pascutto also said the 'uniqueness' of Hong Kong's corporate structure as typified in the family company had been over-dramatised. Almost 90 per cent of Hong Kong's listed companies have one shareholder or one family group of shareholders owning 25 per cent or more of their entire issued capital. Mr Pascutto said the high concentration of private companies was a contrast to markets in the United States. 'But the reality is that in the West there is a strong prevalence of family and private companies. It is not clear as to the extent to which the culture of Hong Kong needs to be reflected in the companies legislation. What we need is legislation which is international and which meets international expectations.' The report's recommendations are largely drawn from US, Canadian, and New Zealand legislation with the US model providing the conceptual framework and a large body of guidance and precedents. 'What we did not do is simply copy the legislation of another jurisdiction. That is the history of the current legislation - legislation by Xerox - which we did not adjust to local circumstances.' Mr Pascutto said business people would recognise little practical difference if the proposed legislation was introduced. 'We can say to the business and professional community that the essential face of the company you are familiar with is still the same. We have rationalised, simplified and modernised the legislation but . . . you will recognise the form.' The report recommends eliminating corporate formalities, ranging from abolishing annual general meetings to restricting the discretion of the board, for private or closely held corporations. Mr Pascutto said by eliminating out-moded formalities the legislation would try to streamline the procedure to standards comparable to other commercial jurisdictions. He dismissed as 'rubbish' claims the consultants and working party members had 'cherry-picked' the best practice from other jurisdictions. 'It does not make sense for Hong Kong to try and invent a new concept of company law. It does make sense to look at the leading business jurisdictions in the world and look at models that have been in operation for many years and choose the models that best suit Hong Kong and adopt them to the Hong Kong environment.'