Securities and Futures Commission warns industry of anti-money laundering concerns

The SFC, one of four financial regulators in Hong Kong charged with overseeing finance and investing, has issued a press release highlighting its concerns relating to anti-money laundering (AML). The SFC's Enforcement Division is investigating various licensed brokerages for suspected inadequate AML internal controls, and expects to bring a number of enforcement actions. In the press release, the SFC listed various areas of concern which it identified during onsite inspections and investigations of the brokerages, for example:

  • failure to take adequate measures to continuously monitor business relationships with customers which present a high risk of money laundering;
  • inadequate enquiries made to assess potentially suspicious transactions to determine whether it is necessary to report those transactions (and lack of documentation of assessment results).

The SFC expects licensees to enhance their AML internal controls immediately as they have had ample time to do so since the implementation of the new regime in 2012.

Asia Pacific

Gift-wrapping bribery: law enforcement agencies focus on corporate perks in Asia Pacific

Clients operating across Asia Pacific face strict anti-bribery laws, often coupled with a cultural tradition of gift giving and relationship building.

Our Gifts, Entertainment, Travel and Training: Compliance with Anti-Bribery Regulation Guide navigates the underlying law and practice in this complex area across 15 Asia Pacific jurisdictions. It also addresses the position under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act. These long-arm statutes have been invoked in respect of non-monetary benefits, with major FCPA fines levelled against multinationals in recent years in relation to lavish gifts, hospitality and tours in Asia.

As well as indicating acceptable business hospitality, each chapter also deals with the status of charitable donations and benefits provided to third parties, and whether authorisation may mitigate liability. This new expanded version of the Guide also includes "at a glance" checklists at the end of each country chapter.

The Guide will be of assistance to members of legal and compliance teams who are expected to provide guidance to their businesses in relation to the provision of gifts, entertainment, travel and training.

To request a copy of the Guide, please email asia.publications@hsf.com.