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October 19, 2018

HKMA published 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 November 01, 2018. Additionally, HKMA published, in the Gazette, the new Supervisory Policy Manual (SPM): AML-1 “Supervisory Approach on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism” as statutory guidance under section 7(3) of the Banking Ordinance, following consultation with the industry associations. HKMA also issued its overall policy and supervisory approach on SVF licensees for managing money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks.

The key amendments to the AML/CFT guidelines:

  • Better align them with the latest international requirements, including Financial Action Task Force recommendations 
  • Better facilitate implementation of the risk-based approach by providing principle-based guidance, which allows flexibility for authorized institutions and SVF licensees in the implementation of risk-based requirements, and by enhancing relevant guidance on risk assessments and management 
  • Address implementation challenges of certain requirements (for example, amending the requirements on persons purporting to act on behalf of the customer)
  • Reduce unintentional barriers to the use of technology in authorized institutions’ and SVF licensees’ AML/CFT systems (for example, allowing the use of different methods to mitigate the risk during non-face-to-face account opening).

The new SPM module and the policy and supervisory approach on SVF licensees for managing ML/TF risks follows the publication of “Hong Kong Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment Report” by the government in April 2018, which includes a policy statement of the AML/CFT regime in Hong Kong. The SPM module sets out the overall and supervisory approach of HKMA for AML/CFT policies, procedures, and controls of authorized institutions. The module should be read in conjunction with the guideline on AML/CFT for authorized institutions. 


Effective Date: November 01, 2018 (Guidelines)

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

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