Daily News Headlines

  • News Headlines – 5-9 Mar 2021

    [Hong Kong] Competence Assessment for Money Service Operators

    C&ED Circular, 4 Mar 2021

    The Customs and Excise Department informs money service operators that C&ED will commence the implementation of Competence Assessment for Money Service Operator in Year 2021. The Assessment aims at ensuring that the senior management of the licensed MSO is equipped with fundamental knowledge and clear understanding of AML/CFT for devising and overseeing its own AML/CFT systems to effectively mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing arising from its business operation. All MSO licence applicants and licensees are required to attend the Assessment, and the result of Assessment will be one of the matters that the Commissioner of Customs and Excise considers relevant in determining whether a licence applicant or a licensee is a fit and proper person to operate the money service business. In this regard, the application procedures for the grant or renewal of an MSO licence stipulated in the Licensing Guide are revised accordingly.

    Full text: click here; Guidance Notes: click here

    [Hong Kong] Revisions to Licensing Guide for Money Service Operators

    C&ED Circular, 4 Mar 2021

    The Customs and Excise Department published the revised Licensing Guide which explains new or renewal licence application procedures in details and also sets out notes on revised licensing requirements imposed on all MSO licence applicants and licensees. Failure to comply with requirements set out in the revised Licensing Guide can result in the new/renewal licence application being deemed as invalid which will not be processed by C&ED and/or result in refusal to grant licence, or if a licence has been granted, the licensee could be subject to suspension and revocation of licence.

    Full text: click here; Licensing Guide: click here

    [Hong Kong] SFC and Police joint operation against suspected ramp-and-dump syndicate

    SFC Enforcement News, 5 Mar 2021

    The SFC and the Police have conducted a joint operation against an active and sophisticated syndicate suspected of operating ramp and dump manipulation schemes.  These schemes drive up the share prices of target stocks and then induce unwary investors via social media platforms to buy shares at artificially high prices. Twelve people – including those believed to be the ringleaders of the syndicate and their associates – were arrested during a joint search of 27 premises across Hong Kong. Prior to the joint operation, the SFC issued 16 Restriction Notices and froze 63 securities accounts which it believes hold proceeds of the ramp and dump schemes belonging to syndicate members.  Overall the amount of assets frozen total about $860 million.

    Full text: click here

    [Hong Kong] Circular to Licensed Corporations and Associated Entities - Anti-Money Laundering / Counter-Financing of Terrorism

    HKMA Circular, 5 Mar 2021

    The HKMA inform licensed corporations and associated entities that the Financial Action Task Force in a statement issued on 25 February 2021 advised its members to refer to the list of high-risk jurisdictions subject to a call for action adopted in February 2020, namely Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In addition, the FATF issued an updated statement on Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring and published various other outcomes of its recent Plenary which may be of interest to LCs and AEs. The outcomes include approval of the public consultation on a new guidance on proliferation financing risk assessment and mitigation as well as an update to the FATF guidance for virtual assets and virtual asset service providers.

    Full text: click here

    [Singapore] CMI 27/2018 Controls and Disclosures to be Implemented by Licensed Securities-Based Crowdfunding Operators

    MAS Circular, 5 Mar 2021

    This circular applies to licensed securities-based crowdfunding (SCF) operators. It sets out the measures SCF operators should put in place to assess issuers, manage defaults or cessations, and disclose interest and default rates.

    Full text: click here