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Sophia Man

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Sophia Man is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services Group. She has over 17 years’ experience in advising trustees, fund managers, custodians, administrators and employers on fund formation, restructuring, investment and regulatory matters. Sophia is a member of the Retirement Schemes Committee of the Hong Kong Law Society.

In his recent 2021-22 Budget Speech,1 the Financial Secretary (“Financial Secretary”) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“Hong Kong Government”) confirmed the intended timing for submission of a legislative proposal to allow foreign investment funds to re-domicile to Hong Kong for registration as an Open-ended Fund Company (OFC). The Financial Secretary also announced subsidies for the costs of setting up a new OFC or re-domiciling of foreign investment funds registering as an OFC in Hong Kong. The latest measures represent further important steps in ongoing enhancements and incentives to promote use of the OFC regime. We discuss the recent developments in more depth below.

In his recent 2021-22 Budget Speech,1 the Financial Secretary (“Financial Secretary”) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“Hong Kong Government”) confirmed the intended timing for submission of a legislative proposal to allow foreign investment funds to re-domicile to Hong Kong for registration as an Open-ended Fund Company (OFC). The Financial Secretary also announced subsidies for the costs of setting up a new OFC or re-domiciling of foreign investment funds registering as an OFC in Hong Kong. The latest measures represent further important steps in ongoing enhancements and incentives to promote use of the OFC regime. We discuss the recent developments in more depth below.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published a number of developments to its open-ended fund companies (OFC) regime in the last few weeks of 2020. On 23 December 2020, the SFC released both its conclusions (“Conclusions”) on the customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for OFC consultations and updated frequently asked questions (FAQ) relating to OFCs to clarify custodial requirements.

The Conclusions represent the culmination of the SFC’s further consultation on the CDD requirements to be imposed on OFCs, as released in September 2020 in its consultation conclusions related to further enhancements to the OFC regime (“September Conclusions”).1 The new CDD requirements will come into effect after a six-month transition period following the completion of the legislative process to amend the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO). The September Conclusions contained, amongst other things, liberalisation of the types of entities that can act as custodian and the updated FAQ provide clarification of the requirements for an OFC’s custodial arrangements. We discuss the Conclusions and updated FAQ in more depth in this Alert.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has released a Consultation Paper on Enhancing the Regulation and Supervision of Trust Business (Consultation Paper). The HKMA plans to introduce a Code of Practice for Trust Business (Code) to be incorporated into a new Supervisory Policy Manual (SPM) applicable to all authorized institutions (AIs) and local subsidiaries of locally incorporated AIs (AI subsidiaries) conducting trust business in Hong Kong. The aim of the Code is to enhance protection of client assets held on trust and better align with international standards and practices to promote the fair treatment of customers and a customer-centric culture in the trust business. We discuss some of the HKMA’s proposals and their potential application.

The Occupational Retirement Schemes (Amendment) Bill 2019 (“Amendment Bill”) was published in the Gazette on 4 April 2019. The Amendment Bill overhauls the regulatory regime of the Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance1 (ORSO) and prevents misuse of the occupational retirement schemes. There is no definite timeline as to the implementation of the Amendment Bill (the “Effective…