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    HKMA Announces Banking License, Penalties and Guidance on Data-Sharing

    November 19, 2021

    The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) granted a restricted banking license to Korea Development Bank (incorporated in the Republic of Korea) under the Banking Ordinance. HKMA also imposed pecuniary penalties of HKD 44,200,000 against China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited (CCBA), CTBC Bank Co., Ltd., Hong Kong Branch (CTBCHK), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Limited (ICBCA), and UBS AG, Hong Kong Branch (UBSHK) as well as issued orders for remedying the contraventions where warranted. The investigations followed a series of on-site examinations conducted by HKMA on banks’ systems and controls for compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO). Additionally, HKMA issued guidance to authorized institutions on sharing of personal data of customers for direct marketing by third parties.

    Given the special trust relationship between authorized institutions and their customers and considering that some of the third parties are not subject to any regulatory regime like that of authorized institutions, for the sake of better safeguarding personal data of banking customers, HKMA considers that the banking industry should aspire to a higher standard regarding sharing of customers’ personal data with third parties for the purpose of direct marketing. Under the guidance, there are two general approaches that authorized institutions may adopt for sharing customers’ personal data for direct marketing by third parties by:

    • asking customers to directly approach the third parties such that the customers may provide their personal data directly to the third parties; or
    • redirecting the customers from authorized institutions’ website/mobile apps to the websites/mobile apps of the third parties for provision of their personal data and/or consent for direct marketing by such third parties.

    The guidance also stipulates how redirection should be made, the types of customers’ personal data that may be shared with third parties in different circumstances under the redirection approach, and other guiding principles on the sharing of customers’ personal data to third parties. The guidance will take effect on January 01, 2022 such that any new applicable initiatives to be launched by authorized institutions from that date should comply with the guidance. For authorized institutions’ existing applicable arrangements, authorized institutions are expected to comply with the guidance as soon as practicable and in any case not later than six months from the effective date (that is, by June 30, 2022).


    Keywords: Asia Pacific, Hong Kong, China, Banking, Bank Licenses, AMLO, AML/CFT, Penalty, Internal Controls, Operational Risk, Data Sharing, Guidance, HKMA

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