What needs to be done if a licensed firm wants to appoint someone who is not a responsible officer to submit its financial returns?
The licensed firm would need to obtain the SFC’s prior approval for the person to be an authorised officer for signing financial resources returns by submitting an application through the WINGS platform. Aside from providing information on the identity, experience and qualification of the proposed signatory and submitting an organisational chart of the licensed firm, the new electronic application form requires explanation as to how the firm would ensure the proposed signatory will be able to exercise independent judgement as to the truth and correctness of the financial returns, as well as how the knowledge and experience of the proposed signatory will enable them to understand the contents of the financial returns and related regulatory requirements. Once the person becomes an authorised person, they can then register a WINGS user account for submitting the financial returns of the licensed firm.
As part of the review of the competence of an individual to submit the financial returns, the licensed firm needs to assess whether the person has knowledge and experience in connection with the Securities and Futures (Financial Resources) Rules, which are very specific rules and may differ from the generally accepted accounting principles in certain instances. The individual is also expected to be senior enough in the licensed firm (e.g. assuming the position of Manager-in-Charge of the Finance and Accounting function) to be responsible for making the filings.