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Hong Kong Renews AML Guidelines

by Mary Swire, Lowtax.net, Hong Kong
27 January, 2015

Hong Kong has gazetted an anti-money laundering amendment notice that will allow its financial institutions to continue to delegate customer due diligence (CDD) functions.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (AMLO) stipulates a set of CDD and record-keeping measures to be undertaken by financial institutions, in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, the standard-setting body on tackling money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

Under Hong Kong's framework, the AMLO Schedule contains an interim provision to enable a financial institution to carry out CDD measures through intermediaries (such as solicitors, certified public accountants, and current members of the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries, as well as registered trust companies carrying out trust business in Hong Kong) on the condition that these intermediaries have adequate procedures in place to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

This interim provision is due to expire after March 31, 2015, and the new amendment notice will allow financial institutions to continue to carry out the CDD measures through the relevant intermediaries for three additional years, until March 31, 2018.

A government spokesperson said: "We believe that the continuation of the interim arrangement will facilitate financial institutions and relevant intermediaries to continue to work together to comply with the CDD requirements applying to financial institutions under the AMLO as appropriate."

The Notice is to be tabled before the Legislative Council at its sitting on January 28, 2015, for negative vetting.

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