Hong Kong Heads For Fundamental Financial Changes

Industry players in Hong Kong are preparing to allow customers to trade cryptos. A leader in digital assets said that retailers must demonstrate the custody and protection of customer assets. Recently amended rules require virtual infrastructure companies to apply for authorization through the SFC.

Players in Hong Kong’s financial services industry are developing a framework for retail clients to trade virtual assets in the coming months following a critical change in local law. A local media outlet quoted Robert Lui, head of digital assets at Deloitte Hong Kong:

We’ve seen a lot of brokers and financial advisors seek our advice on licensing under the new regime. To protect customer interests, they must demonstrate to the SFC that they have internal controls, customer protection and insurance arrangements in place.

Lui added that the authorities will allow ordinary investors to invest in commercial real estate with high market capitalization and liquidity. As of September 2022, more than a dozen companies may have shown interest in the security token offering. The discussion on how to promote securities offering (STO) in Hong Kong was attended by representatives from the Financial Services and Treasury Board (FSTB), SFC and HKInvest.

In December, the Hong Kong government authorized amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Act, placing financial service providers under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) through in June this year.

Under the updated law, all businesses that exchange assets will be required to obtain a digital asset management license. The SFC requires licensed AV exchanges and licensed subsidiaries to submit audited financial statements and other financial data on a regular basis. In a related development, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that it is developing new measures to improve the governance of digital assets, including strict rules to improve investor protection.

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