Financial Services License in Hong Kong

Financial Services License in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's financial services industry has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. As a result, Hong Kong has become a key financial services center in Asia. In Hong Kong, an intermediary needs a valid license to conduct financial services regulated activities. The regulated activities include securities dealing, futures dealing; leveraged foreign exchange trading; advising on corporation finance, securities and futures; securities margin financing; providing automated trading services; and asset management.

Under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) of Hong Kong, the following are considering regulated activities by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong:

  • Dealing in securities
  • Dealing in futures contracts
  • Leveraged foreign exchange trading
  • Advising on securities
  • Advising on futures contracts
  • Advising on corporate finance
  • Providing automated trading services
  • Securities margin financing
  • Asset management services

Any corporation (including an authorized financial institution) that intends to carry out any of the regulated activities listed above in Hong Kong will need to apply for a license.

Any individual who intends to carry out any of the regulated activities listed above on behalf of a licensed corporation will need to apply for a Representative a license. A licensed representative accredited to more than one licensed corporation.

Any licensed representative who is responsible for supervising a licensed corporation that carries out any of the regulated activities will need to approved as a "responsible officer" of the licensed corporation.

A sole proprietorship or a partnership is not an acceptable form of business structure for any purpose of obtaining the financial services licensing.

Any overseas corporation or individual carrying on a business out side Hong Kong that is of the same nature as a regulated activity can apply for a temporary license to carry on the same business in Hong Kong. However, certain regulated activities such as leveraged foreign exchange trading, providing automated trading services, securities, margin financing and asset management services can not be carried out under a temporary license. In addition, under the temporary license the application cannot hold client assets. The temporary license will be grant only for 3 months at any given time and for not more than 6 months in total within any period of 24 months.