The Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau (“FSTB”) issued two consultation papers from 6 January to 5 March 2017 to enhance anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (“AML/CTF”) regulation in Hong Kong and published the consultation conclusions on 13 April 2017. The consultations will amend the Companies Ordinance and the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (“AMLO”) to strengthen the Hong Kong AML legislation in accordance with the FATF recommendations.
- Hong Kong companies are required to maintain a register of “beneficial owners” or “persons with significant control,” (“PSC register”) but with an exception for listed companies;
- Increase the beneficial ownership threshold from “not less than 10%” to “more than 25%”;
- Solicitors, accountants, real estate agents, and trust or company service providers (“TCSPs”) are required to perform customer due diligence in certain circumstances;
- New licensing regime for TCSPs; and
- Expand the scope of the AML/CTF Tribunal to cover appeals against future decisions made by the Registrar of Companies in implementing the licensing and disciplinary regime for TCSPs.