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Hong Kong


In a recent press release, the Securities and Futures Commission published details, FAQs, and application forms for the new grant scheme to subsidise the expenses incurred by Open-ended Fund Companies successfully incorporated in, or re-domiciled to, Hong Kong.

Over a year into the global pandemic, businesses have had to pivot to survive and adjust to new ways of conducting business. Now, more than ever, Asia Pacific business leaders are making the necessary strategic changes to meet the needs of a vastly changed business landscape — and deciding where legal expertise may be needed most to limit and manage disruption and soften risks. This report will delve into how businesses view rising protectionism, regulatory scrutiny and foreign investment restrictions, and how these views are directly impacting their supply chain strategies.

Our Asia Pacific Employment & Compensation Team is pleased to provide you with our first quarterly update for 2021 highlighting key employment law changes across the Asia Pacific region. Please feel free to visit our Building a New Workforce Reality and FutureWorks sites designed to guide global employers on how to future-proof your workforce and to stay competitive in innovating and revolutionizing your working practices.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)  has been increasingly active in promoting green and sustainable finance in Hong Kong. Adopting a three-phase approach, the HKMA has developed a common assessment framework to assess the “greenness baselines” of HKMA-authorized banks and deposit-taking institutions (authorized institutions or AIs) and completed a first round of self-assessments of AIs (Phase I). It has also moved to Phase II which involves the development of climate risk management-related supervisory requirements for AIs. An industry consultation on supervisory requirements is expected in 2021 (possibly within the first half). Phase III (implementation and compliance monitoring) will follow once targets have been set.

Hong Kong continues to have an active and growing money-lending market. Since 2016, the Hong Kong Government has adopted a four-pronged approach to enhancing the compliance standards of non-bank money lenders. The Hong Kong Companies Registry (CR), which currently performs the role of Registrar of Money Lenders (“Registrar”) pursuant to the Money Lenders Ordinance (MLO),1 recently released a new Guideline on Fit and Proper Criteria for Licensing of Money Lenders2 (“Fit and Proper Guideline”) and a Guideline on Submission of Business Plan by Applicant of a Money Lenders Licence3 (“Business Plan Guideline”). The new guidelines (“Guidelines”) will be effective from 1 April 2021. In this publication, we provide an overview of the money lenders regime in Hong Kong and the implications of the new Guidelines on new and existing market participants. 

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.