News & Insights

SFC licensing and compliance hints – Oct 2012

Is it possible for my overseas colleague to meet investors in Hong Kong?

Overseas individuals from group entities outside Hong Kong can apply for a temporary licence with the group’s Hong Kong licensed entity or a licence as an itinerant professional. In both cases, the applicant will be exempted from taking local licensing exams.

Itinerant professionals can carry out regulated activities for and on behalf of a licensed company in Hong Kong for up to 30 days in each calendar year, while a temporary licence is a one-off licence and will only be granted where the individual’s overseas employer is within the same group of companies as a local licensed entity. A temporary licence can be valid for up to three months. A temporary licensee cannot be licensed for more than six months within any 24 month period. Temporary licences are not available for asset management activity and certain other types of regulated activity.

If individuals are likely to conduct regulated activities in Hong Kong for longer than the period allowed under the itinerant professional or temporary licence schemes, they will need to apply for a normal licence with the Securities and Futures Commission and will need to take the local licensing exam (paper 1) although they will usually be granted six months to pass it from when the licence is issued.

It is important to note that temporary licensees and itinerant professionals are representatives of the Hong Kong licensed entity when they are in Hong Kong and are not able to represent their home employer, for example by handing out business cards. When conducting any regulated activity in Hong Kong, it should be clear that they are acting as representatives of the Hong Kong licensed entity and not of the overseas entity.

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