As mentioned in our last newsletter, licensed companies (LCs) need to file their Business and Risk Management Questionnaire (BRMQ) with the SFC. The financial year end for most LCs is 31 December, and the deadline for those firms is not until 30 April 2020. Although this seems to provide ample time to prepare the submission, it should be noted that the new BRMQ will require a significantly greater time investment in comparison to previous years, partly because it is new and partly because it is much lengthier. We encourage LCs to start looking at the BRMQ now and decide who will be responsible for preparing a response to each question.
The whole BRMQ is 142 pages long, but the good news is that LCs only need to answer those parts which relate to their business. Most of the questions are multiple choice, but LCs may need time to consider some of their responses. For some questions, the “perfect” answer (i.e. the answer the SFC is looking for) is quite obvious but internal discussions and even legal advice may be required before the LC can comfortably and confidently respond. Further, if all relevant colleagues are based in the Hong Kong office, the whole process may be comparatively straight forward, but if sign-off is required by functional heads in different parts of the organisation, the process may entail many emails and calls out of office hours.
New LCs will observe that the content of the BRMQ is similar to that of Questionnaires A and B during the SFC licencing application process. It makes sense to give copies of the completed Questionnaires to the staff tasked with preparing the BRMQ so they know what has been previously submitted to the SFC.