February 23, 2018

HKMA issued circulars on amendments to the guidelines on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (aml/cft) for authorized institutions and for stored value facility (SVF) licensees. The revised guidelines will be effective on March 01, 2018.

HKMA published, in the Gazette, the revised guideline on AML/CFT for authorized institutions under section 7 of the AML/CFT (Financial Institutions) Ordinance and section 7(3) of the Banking Ordinance. Also published is the revised guideline on AML/CFT for stored value facility licensees under section 54(1A)(b) of the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance. The guidelines are amended to reflect the enhancements, which are relevant to the banking sector and stored value facility licensees, made in the recently enacted the AML/CFT (Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Ordinance 2018. The key amendments include the following:

  • Changing the threshold at which beneficial ownership is defined from not less than 10% to more than 25%, to align with prevailing international standards and practices
  • Amending the additional measure to be taken when the customer is not physically present for identification purposes—from verifying all the information provided by the customer to verifying customer-related information that has been obtained by the financial institution/stored value facility licensee to allow more flexible approaches, including the use of technology, when obtaining and verifying customer information
  • Expanding the categories of intermediaries, including foreign financial institutions within the same financial groups, which authorized institutions and stored value facility licensees are permitted to rely on, to perform customer due diligence measures
  • Incorporating additional requirements on an intermediary institution and the need to include recipient information in wire transfers to reflect the current international standards
  • Aligning the requirement for record keeping with international standards (from 6 years to a minimum of 5 years)


Effective Date: March 01, 2018

Keywords: Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, Banking, AML/CFT, Guideline, Banking Ordinance, HKMA

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