Hong Kong SFC licensing and compliance hints

What are the 2021 hot compliance action items for licensed companies?

  • Electronic data storage: has the company identified where its regulatory records are stored electronically and with whom, in compliance with the FAQs of 10 December 2020? Has the company notified the SFC about its existing electronic data storage arrangements and prepared an application for approval for premises to be used for record keeping purpose?
  • WINGS: has the company activated its WINGS accounts to familiarise itself with the new platform? The SFC plans to move all of its licensing-related processes to WINGS later this year – see the publication of 21 December 2020.
  • Bribery: has the company implemented appropriate measures to ensure compliance with the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), in accordance with the SFC’s circular of 18 December 2020? Perhaps the firm can organise a training on compliance with the POBO, regulatory requirements and internal anti-bribery policies and procedures as part of the CPT programme for 2021.
  • CPT: has the company done a stocktake on how many licensed individuals were unable to fulfil their annual CPT requirements in 2020 and how many hours are to be carried forward for completion in 2021?
  • AML: has the company reviewed its existing AML/CFT systems in view of the SFC’s recent findings during its routine and thematic inspections? Details are in the circular of 1 December 2020.
  • 2021 business plans: is the company expecting any changes to any of its business activities? Has it considered whether those changes will impact its licence status, ability to comply with the SFC’s Financial Resources Rules, and internal control policies and procedures? Does the SFC need to be notified?
  • Regulator’s inspection: how ready is the company for an SFC routine inspection?

Deadline reminder

The deadline for the submission of responses to the SFC’s and HKMA’s joint annual survey on the sale of non-exchange traded investment products by licensed corporations for the year 2020 is coming up – see the circular of 18 December 2020. Firms that did not sell any non-exchange traded investment products during 2020 should submit their survey by 5 February 2021. Those that sold non-exchanges traded investment products are due to submit theirs by 26 February 2021 or 12 March 2021 depending on whether the transaction amounts were below or above certain thresholds.