SFC concludes consultation on amendments to anti-money laundering

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The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has just informed the public that it has today released consultation conclusions on proposals to amend its Guideline on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT Guideline).

The amendments are in line with the latest international anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards and will make the AML/CFT Guideline more useful and relevant in light of industry developments.

Under the revised AML/CFT Guideline, the categories of politically exposed persons (PEPs) will be expanded to include international organisation PEPs who are persons entrusted with a prominent function by an international organisation. The enhanced scrutiny for foreign PEPs will be extended to domestic PEPs and international organisation PEPs where their business relationships with a firm are assessed to be of high risk.

In addition, the changes allow firms the flexibility to adopt reasonable risk-based measures to verify customer identification information. To facilitate non-face-to-face customer onboarding, firms are allowed to take a mix of supplementary measures to guard against impersonation risk.

The amendments ensure our regulations are in line with the latest international standards,” said Mr Ashley Alder, the SFC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Whilst firms will still be required to apply effective measures to detect and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, the changes provide more flexibility for firms to apply those measures using a risk-based approach.

The revised AML/CFT guidelines will be gazetted on 19 October 2018 and take effect on 1 November 2018.

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