Hong Kong Lawyer

November 2017

Issue link: https://asianlegalbusiness.uberflip.com/i/894127

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Page 55 of 103

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS 業 界 透 視 ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions Update The background to the Government's rather clumsy proposals to extend the statutory customer due diligence and record-keeping requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (Cap. 615) to lawyers practising in Hong Kong is set out in previous Industry Insights (eg, "Government Consultation: A 'Solution' Looking for a Problem" and "Lawyers and DNFBPs"). The Amendment Bill is now making its way through the Legislative Council. At the time of writing, the second meeting of the relevant Bills Committee is due to be heard on 30 October 2017. The question why it is proposed to include solicitors and foreign lawyers practising in Hong Kong in a piece of legislation originally meant for financial institutions still remains to be convincingly answered; particularly, considering that in the last ten years lawyers practising in Hong Kong have had to comply with (among other things) the mandatory provisions of Practice Direction P ("AMLCTF") and its comprehensive set of guidelines. Practice Direction P has stood the test of time and is accepted as being fit for purpose. It is also a benchmark for other professions in Hong Kong. Readers who are lawyers practising in Hong Kong should acquaint themselves with the Amendment Bill and with the Law Society of Hong Kong's submissions. Another question that looms large is why, if there has to be legislation, this is not dealt with by a simple enabling provision to the Legal Practitioners Ordinance (Cap. 159), providing that solicitors and foreign lawyers should conduct customer due diligence and keep records of relevant transactions? This way the integrity of Practice Direction P is maintained. There is also a risk with the Government's legislative proposals that the profession's regulatory costs will escalate unreasonably and that client relationships will be adversely affected (as has unfortunately happened with some banks, thereby having a negative effect on Hong Kong's status as an international financial centre). There is a phrase in English that should translate quite well in Chinese: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". - Jason Carmichael, Partner, RPC 打擊清洗黑錢 指定非金融企業及行業的最新 消息 政府早前建議擴大《打擊洗錢及恐怖分子 資金籌集(金融機構)條例》(第615章)客 戶盡職審查及備存紀錄法例規定的涵蓋範 圍,把在香港執業的律師亦納入其中。這 項建議相當粗疏,筆者曾在早前的《業界 透視》撰文談論箇中背景(例如「修例諮 詢:庸人自擾」及「律師和指定非金融企 業及行業」)。 立法會現正審議修例草案。本文撰寫之 時,相關的草案委員會預訂在2017年10 月30日舉行第二次會議。 法例原本只涵蓋金融機構,為甚麼要建議 把律師及在香港執業的外地律師納入範圍 之內?這個問題至今仍欠一個具有說服力 的答案;尤其是想到過去十年,在香港執 業的律師都必須遵守(其中包括)Practice Direction P(「打擊洗錢及恐怖分子資金 籌集」)的強制性規定及其內容全面的指 引,政府就更難說之以理。 Practice Direction P久經時間考驗,被認 為是合用的專業守則。它也是香港其他專 業人士適用的標準。 在香港執業做律師的讀者應當了解修例草 案及香港律師會的意見書。 另一個另人憂慮的問題是,如果一定要有 法例,為甚麼不在《法律執業者條例》 ( 第 1 5 9 章 ) 加 入 賦 權 條 文 , 內 容 簡 簡 單 單,就只規定律師及外地律師應當進行客 戶盡職審查及備存相關交易紀錄?這個 方式可以保持Practice Direction P的完整 性。 政府的立法建議亦帶有風險,就是過 度增加專門行業的監管成本,並且客 戶 關 係 將 會 受 到 不 利 影 響 (正 如 在 某 些銀行發生的不幸情況一樣,這對香 港作為國際金融中心的地位有負面影 響)。 英語中有句老話:If it ain't broke, don't fix it(意思是「東西沒有破就不 要修補」)應該有貼切的中文翻譯吧。 - 夏禮豪合夥人,RPC 54 www.hk-lawyer.org •  November 2017

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