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Hong Kong AML/CFT Amendments

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The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has issued amendments to the guidelines pertaining to anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) for licensed corporations and associated entities. These amendments encompass several changes, including a revised definition of “politically exposed person” (PEP) that now distinguishes between “non-Hong Kong PEP” and “Hong Kong PEP.” Additionally, a new category called “former non-Hong Kong PEP” has been introduced, and special requirements and additional measures may be waived for non-Hong Kong PEPs if they are deemed to no longer pose a high risk of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Moreover, the amendments also reflect an updated definition of beneficial owner for customers that are Trusts. The guidelines provide guidance on how to verify the identities of beneficiaries and classes of beneficiaries. In addition to these changes, recognized digital identification systems are now acknowledged as reliable sources for identifying and verifying a customer’s identity. Consequently, if a person’s identity has been verified through such a system, certain additional measures may be waived.