SFC facilitates electronic dissemination of investment product documents

28 October 2020, Securities and Futures Commission , Regulatory , Investment Funds, Newsletter by Alwyn Li, Eve Leung, Nicole Tang

On 29 September 2020, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a circular to provide guidance on the electronic dissemination (e-dissemination) of investment product documents.

Issuers of investment products authorized by the SFC and intermediaries which disseminate paper product documents such as offering documents, notices, announcements and financial reports may disseminate these documents electronically subject to the SFC’s prescribed requirements in the circular. The SFC will accept e-dissemination arrangements which (i) provide electronic copies of documents to investors or (ii) notify investors electronically that the documents are accessible online and where the electronic documents can be accessed. The e-dissemination arrangements may include all electronic means such as email and SMS.

Product issuers will need to consider if amendments to the products’ constitutive documents are required before adoption of the e-dissemination arrangement. The SFC’s prior approval will not be required for an SFC-authorized fund to implement e-dissemination arrangements; nor are amendments to the constitutive documents necessary if they are made solely to enable the e-dissemination arrangement.

In order to adopt e-dissemination arrangements, product issuers must provide appropriate transitional arrangements for investors currently receiving paper documents. The SFC expects that investors should be provided with at least one month’s prior notice in compliance with the disclosure requirements in the circular and the relevant SFC’s FAQ.

Investors who transition from receiving paper documents to e-dissemination arrangements should be allowed to change the means of delivery at any time subject to reasonable prior notice.

The circular can be viewed here: https://www.sfc.hk/edistributionWeb/gateway/EN/circular/doc?refNo=20EC59

The relevant SFC’s FAQ (Section 2 - Q23 to Q28 of the FAQ on Post Authorization Compliance Issues) can be viewed here: https://www.sfc.hk/en/faqs/Publicly-offered-investment-products