15 May 2014

Bank Account Opening Update

With implementation of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and successive initiatives to combat money laundering in various countries around the world, individuals as well as companies are facing difficulties in establishing a bank account in Hong Kong and around the world. Banks are now required to obtain additional documentation when opening accounts in line with due diligence and know your client procedures as well as having the relevant persons attend the bank opening, even after which there is no guarantee the account will be opened.

Foreigners or even residence of Hong Kong establishing offshore structures in places such as British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands (Cayman) are often rejected subsequent to the bank meeting, due to “administrative reasons”. In reality, with the added strain on compliance cost relating to KYC and Anti Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations, banks are finding it more difficult to charge a small bank opening fee whilst keeping up with questions raised from their respective compliance department. As evident, HSBC HK has raised its opening fee for offshore companies such as BVI and Cayman from HKD2,000 to HKD8,000 in just under 1 year.

With the release of a new set of AML/CFT risk management guidelines on 15 January 2014 by The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, obtaining a bank account for any business, whether it’s a small business, well established business, will be more difficult.


How we can help

ALCPA has been established in Hong Kong since 1978 and has been a qualified intermediary with various banks in Hong Kong and overseas enabling us to obtain first-hand knowledge and requirements on the bank opening procedure. Our team also consists of ex-employees of banks and has connection worldwide to open bank accounts for clients suitable for different needs even in cases where client is not able to visit the banks personally.

Please feel free to contact us should you require more information on the above.

    (852) 2574 8289

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