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Samantha Lai

Samantha Lai is a Special Counsel in Baker McKenzie, Hong Kong office.

On 12 March 2024, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued a press release announcing the launch of its new stablecoin issuer sandbox arrangement (“Stablecoin Sandbox”). The Stablecoin Sandbox is another step following the legislative proposal to implement a new regulatory regime for stablecoin issuers. The Stablecoin Sandbox will facilitate communications between the HKMA and interested stablecoin issuers to gauge the expected regulatory standards.

On 8 February 2024, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau of Hong Kong (FSTB) released a public consultation (“Consultation”) on legislative proposals to introduce a licensing regime (“Proposed Regime”) for providers of over-the-counter (OTC) trading services of virtual assets (VA). The Proposed Regime will be regulated by the Commissioner of Customs and Excise. The Consultation represents the latest step in the city to further enhance the VA regulatory framework as outlined by the Hong Kong Government in its 2022 Policy Statement on Development of VA in Hong Kong.

As a sponsor at the 2021 Hong Kong Fintech Week, Baker McKenzie moderated several panel discussions and hosted a couple of virtual masterclasses, including one on the topic “ESG Investing and Fintech.” In this session, our speakers discuss key considerations and opportunities in ESG investing and its impact on technology. They also looked at strategies some fintech businesses are adopting to respond to the new regulatory landscape, as well as emerging sustainability opportunities in this sector.

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) recently released additional guidance on external electronic data storage in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs)1, which elaborate on the requirements for using external electronic data storage providers (EDSPs) under the SFC’s 31 October 2019 circular (“EDSP Circular”)2. The FAQs provide further guidance on the following key aspects: (i) key personnel requirements for the purpose of the EDSP Circular; (ii) the application of the EDSP Circular where electronic regulatory records are kept with affiliates; and (iii) the use of undertakings by designated Manager(s)-in-Charge (MIC(s)) / Responsible Officer (RO) (“MIC/RO Undertaking”) as acceptable alternatives to the undertakings provided by the EDSPs (“EDSP Undertaking”). We discuss the implications in these areas further below. The SFC has also made consequential changes to its Frequently Asked Questions on premises for business and record keeping3.