Every month we survey ten Asian jurisdictions for legal developments concerning trust and estate planning which are of interest to the private wealth industry, and provide a succinct summary in a table format. The jurisdictions covered in the update are Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. We hope that these updates will prove to be a useful resource to keep private clients, business people, and lawyers abreast of legal updates in the region.


1. FATF has launched a consultation on digital identity verification systems

FATF has launched a consultation on how digital identity verification systems can be used for risk-based customer due-diligence and has published draft guidance on the same. The consultation closes on 29 November 2019 and FATF is looking for feedback from banks, virtual-asset service providers other regulated entities and public authorities. FATF is hoping to publish the final guidance in February 2020.

2. FATF urges countries to improve beneficial ownership transparency

Xiangmin Liu, the new president of FATF has urged countries to improve efforts to record beneficial ownership of shell companies and warned that FATF will start to hold countries accountable for not implementing publicly accessible central registries of beneficial ownership information.

Hong Kong

1. HKMA and Mainland authorities to explore establishment of cross-boundary wealth management connect scheme

The HKMA has announced that following the plenary meeting of the Leading Group for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area on 6 November 2019, a series of measures have been announced to promote the development of the Greater Bay Area, including exploring the establishment of a cross-boundary wealth management connect scheme.

The HKMA and the Mainland authorities will explore the establishment of a two-way wealth management connect scheme to enable residents of Hong Kong and Mainland cities in the Greater Bay Area to invest in wealth management products in each other’s market through the banking systems. The HKMA intends to engage in discussion with Mainland authorities and the industry to formulate the implementation details as early as practicable. They will draw on the successful experience of the existing mutual market access schemes in devising the relevant management requirements.


1. MAS revises guidelines on licencing, registration and conduct of business for fund management companies

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published revised guidelines on licensing, registration and conduct of business for fund management companies. The guidelines set out the eligibility criteria and application procedures for licensed fund management companies (LFMCs), venture capital fund managers (VCFMs) and registered fund management companies (RFMCs). They also impose ongoing business conduct requirements on LFMCs, VCFMs and RFMCs, including requirements relating to custody of assets, valuation and reporting, mitigation of conflicts of interest, disclosure and submission of periodic returns.


1. RBI announces proposed reforms to promote digital payments

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a range of reform proposals to promote digital payments. Key proposals include:

  • prohibiting banks from charging customers with a savings account for online transactions carried out in the National Electronic Funds Transfer system, with effect from January 2020;
  • improving infrastructure for the acceptance of bank cards; and
  • enabling the processing of e-mandates for transactions through United Payments Interface systems.


1. BNM responds to common queries regarding proposed cash transaction limit

BNM has released answers to frequently asked questions regarding the proposed introduction of a Cash Transaction Limit (CTA) of RM25,000 per transaction. The CTA is an initiative of the National Coordination Committee to Counter Money Laundering and is intended to strengthen Malaysia’s financial integrity. BNM’s answers confirm that physical cash transactions with or through licensed banks will be exempt from the CTA.


1. New OJK regulation on reporting of foreign customers’ taxation information

OJK has published on its website OJK Regulation No. 25/POJK.03/2019 (in Indonesian language) on reporting of foreign customers’ taxation information, to further implement the automatic exchange of financial information among financial service institutions across partner countries. The regulation requires Indonesian banks, securities companies and insurance companies to file reports to the Indonesian Directorate General of Taxation via OJK on its foreign customers, including details such as the account number, identity of account holder, account balance, and all revenue related to such account. The report must be filed at the latest 60 days before the deadline for information exchange prescribed in the agreement with the relevant partner country.

This regulation revokes OJK Regulation No. 25/POJK.03/2015 (in Indonesian language) and its implementing regulations and took effect on 16 October 2019.

The contents of this document are for reference purposes only. Some of the information comes from public sources and this may not be comprehensive, accurate or up to date; where we have relied on third party information and sources, this has not been verified by us. The document does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication, and any facts in this document should be checked for your specific circumstances at the time you wish to use or refer to them.