Hong Kong Lawyer

March 2017

Issue link: https://asianlegalbusiness.uberflip.com/i/795522

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Page 53 of 107

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 業 界 透 視 ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING Some Lessons from SFC's Further Guidance to the Markets The Securities and Futures Commission's recent circular to licensed corporations and associated entities on anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism ("AMLCFT" or "AMLCTF") comes at an opportune time with the AMLCTF practices of certain designated non-financial businesses and professions ("DNFBPs") also in the news, following a related government consultation. At the time of writing, the formal phase of that consultation is due to conclude in early March 2017 (see Industry Insights, February 2017, "AML: DNFBPs"). The SFC circular "Compliance with AMLCFT Requirements" follows its review of the practices of more than 290 licensed entities in 2016. That review identified more than 200 incidents of non-compliance with (among other things) the SFC's Guideline on AMLCTF and Code of Conduct. As with most industry standards, the general principles that underpin the SFC's guidelines are rooted in the Financial Action Task Force's key "40 Recommendations" (on the international standards for combating AMLCFT). The SFC circular specifically gives examples of the different types of irregularities discovered as a result of its findings (Appendix 1 and 2 of the circular). These irregularities, together with the examples of good practice set out at Appendix 3, demonstrate two themes. First, deficiencies in licensed entities' AMLCTF procedures are often a result of omissions ("failing to …"); these omissions are, in turn, often caused by a lack of proper resources. Second, good practices are led by a senior management team*. While the SFC's circular and guidelines are industry specific, the general principles relating to client due diligence and record-keeping are useful reminders for DNFBPs in Hong Kong (be they, among others, lawyers, accountants or estate agents). With this in mind, the responsible partner(s) and/or AML compliance and reporting officer(s) within a law firm and a foreign law firm would do well to review the contents of the profession's Practice Direction P (AMLCTF) and, in particular, its mandatory aspects. Practice P is the legal profession's relevant regulatory standard and provides the most comprehensive guidance of all DNFBPs in Hong Kong*. Members in practice (and in-house lawyers with a current practising certificate) would also be well advised to attend the Academy of Law's annual "Anti-Money Laundering Seminar for Lawyers" (run in conjunction with the Police, the Narcotics Division and the DOJ in October) and/or an accredited AML risk management education course (if they have not already done so). In light of the government's consultation document on "Enhancing AML Regulation of DNFBPs" it is likely that more attention will focus on the provisions of Practice Direction P; particularly, in the run-up to the FATF's next mutual evaluation of Hong Kong (thought to be in the last quarter of 2018, for reporting in the summer of 2019). - Jason Carmichael and Warren Ganesh, Smyth & Co in association with RPC * See Industry Insights, April 2015: "Internal Controls – No Passing the Buck or Turning a Blind-Eye". 打擊清洗黑錢 從證監會給市場的進一步指引 學點功課 證券及期貨事務監察委員會最近向持牌法 團及有聯繫實體發出通函,通函內容與打 擊洗錢及恐怖分子資金籌集有關,適逢某 些指定非金融企業及行業打擊洗錢及恐怖 分子資金籌集的作業方式亦上了新聞,通 函來得正是時候。此前,政府已發出相關 諮詢文件,我們執筆撰文時,諮詢期已進 入最後階段,將在2017年3月初正式結束 (見2017年2月《業界透視》「打擊清洗黑 錢:指定非金融企業及行業」)。 證監會發出「遵從打擊洗錢/恐怖分子 資金籌集規定」通函,此前,證監會在 2016年審查超過290家持牌機構的作業方 式,發現有超過200宗不遵從(其中包括) 證監會《打擊洗錢及恐怖分子資金籌 集指引》及《操守準則》的事件。 與大多數業界標準一樣,支持證監會指引 的一般原則植根於財務行動特別組織主要 的(與打擊洗錢及恐怖分子資金籌集適用的 國際標準有關的)「40項建議」之上。 證監會在通函列舉例子,具體說明審查結 果發現的各種違規情況(通函附錄1及2)。 這些違規情況與附錄3載列的良好作業方 式的例子表達兩大主題:一,持牌機構的 打擊洗錢及恐怖分子資金籌集程序有不足 之處,不足之處通常是不作為(「沒有…… 」)導致的;這些不作為則通常是由於欠缺 合適資源所致。二,良好作業方式是由高 級管理團隊帶領進行的*。 雖然證監會通函和指引適用於特定行業, 但對香港的指定非金融企業及行業(無論是 律師、會計師、地產代理,抑或是其他人 士)來說,有關客戶盡職審查及備存紀錄的 一般原則相當有用,是很好的提醒。 52 www.hk-lawyer.org •  March 2017

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