News & Insights

Hong Kong SFC licensing and compliance hints

New SFC online portal

Did you register to attend one of the SFC’s workshops on 26 or 30 November to learn about the new SFC online portal? The SFC is launching a revamped version of its online portal, WINGS 2.0, next year and invitations to these introductory workshops were sent out on 3 November.

The upgraded version of WINGS will have far more user-friendly features for different types of users, including a long-awaited e-signing function, more efficient and direct interactive tools, smarter e-forms and more flexible payment methods.

Registration for the workshops has now closed but don’t worry if you missed out because during the initial phase, which starts in December you will be able to activate your account and get acquainted with this new innovative tool.

Check your new hire’s visa status

Don’t forget to check a new hire’s Hong Kong visa status before applying for their SFC licence. This is especially important when transferring accreditation from a former employer because the SFC form in that case does not specifically require the applicant to confirm their visa status. There are different types of visa category which allow an individual to work in Hong Kong; some require the employer to make filings to the Immigration Department, while some do not, but any delay in processing a visa application will delay the approval of the licensing application.

Not everyone can take licensing exams in Mainland China

To be able to take the HKSI licensing examinations in Mainland China, a person needs to (i) hold a valid PRC ID card, and (ii) already be registered with Securities Association of China or have already obtained a futures / fund industry professional qualification in Mainland China. This means that non-PRC citizens who reside in Mainland China and cannot return to Hong Kong due to Covid-19, cannot take the licensing exams in Mainland China instead. The SFC has not updated its FAQs on licensing related matters in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, so extensions need to be sought separately and are being assessed by the SFC on a case by case basis.

Be aware of scam emails claiming to be from the FCA

Readers need to be aware of a new scam involving emails which look like they are from the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Never click on links or open attachments in a suspicious looking email even if it seems to be from a regulator. Always verify the validity of any such emails by checking with the Compliance Officer and the relevant regulator if need be.

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