A new licensing regime will be introduced under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (“AMLO”). With effect from 1 March 2018, a person who carries on a trust or company service business in Hong Kong (“TCSP”) is required to apply for a licence from the Registrar of Companies.
A trust or company service business means the business of the provision of the following services to other persons in Hong Kong:
a) a director or a secretary of a corporation;
b) a partner of a partnership;
c) a similar position in relation to other legal persons;
d) a trustee of an express trust or a similar arrangement; and
e) a nominee shareholder for a person other than a corporation whose securities are listed on a recognised stock market.
TCSPs will be required to apply for licences from the Registrar of Companies and every relevant person of the TCSP must satisfy a “fit-and-proper” test for provision of trust or company services in Hong Kong.
The TCSP licence is normally granted for a period of 3 years. The TCSPs must make an application for the renewal upon the expiry of the licence.
The licensing requirement does not apply to:
There will be a transitional arrangement where a person will be deemed to have been granted a licence if he or she were carrying on a trust or company services business in Hong Kong immediately before 1 March 2018. The deemed licensee must apply for a licence to carry on a trust or company service business before the expiration of the deemed license, i.e. 120 days from 1 March 2018.
For further details on the TCSP license, please refer to the Registry for Trust and Company Service Providers website and the Guideline on Compliance of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Requirements for Trust or Company Service Providers .