- Licence-related Ordinances and Information
The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance, Chapter 615 (AMLO) came into operation on 1 April 2012, and amended as The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance in February 2018. Under the AMLO, a person who wishes to operate a remittance and / or money changing service (i.e. money service as defined under the AMLO) is required to apply for a licence from the Commissioner of Customs & Excise (CCE). Operating a money service without obtaining a money service operator licence from the CCE is an offence and liable to conviction of a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for six months. Under the AMLO, CCE is the relevant authority to regulate Money Service Operators (MSOs) (i.e. Remittance Agents and Money Changers) and supervise licensed MSOs’ compliance with the customer due diligence and record-keeping obligations and other licensing requirements, as well as combating unlicensed operation of money service.
Money service refers to currency exchange service or money transfer service:
Currency exchange services mean currency exchange services operated as business in Hong Kong, but do not include such services that are incidental to the main business, such as retail operations that accept foreign currency in transactions or services operated as such by the person who manages the hotel and meet the instructions set out below
(a) The Service is operated on premises of the Hotel and is primarily for the convenience of guests staying at the Hotel; and
(b) include only transactions in which the person purchases non-Hong Kong dollar currencies in exchange for Hong Kong dollar currencies.
Remittance services refer to services that operate as a business in Hong Kong and provide one or more of the following transactions
(a) sending money or arranging for money to be sent outside Hong Kong;
(b) collect money from or arrange for the collection of money from outside Hong Kong;
(c) Arrange for the collection of money outside Hong Kong.
Under the Ordinance, money service operators are required to appoint a Compliance Officer and a Money Laundering Reporting Officer whose primary duties are to review the identity of customers and supervise customer transactions to ensure that the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing is minimized.
(a) 直接或間接地擁有或控制(包括透過信託或持票人股份持有)該法團 已發行股本的不少於25%；
(b) 直接或間接地有權行使在該法團的成員大會上的投票權的不少於 25%，或支配該比重的投票權的行使；或
如不同金錢服務經營者在同一處所經營獨立的金錢服務業務，共用同一處所的各金錢服務經營者必須將各自用以經營業務的地方及儲存業務和交易紀錄的地方清楚區分，讓進入處所的訪客清楚知道他們是與哪位金錢服務 經營者進行交易。申請人應能向關長顯示他們的業務不會與共用同一處所 的其他金錢服務經營者的業務混合。
*The latest licence guidelines have announced on 26 August 2021, please contact us for details.
The applicant must add each additional premises operating monetary services to the licence application or licence renewal application and must pay a fee for each additional premises that need to be registered. Regardless of whether the licence is subsequently approved or rejected, the licence application fees already charged will not be refunded. The licences granted are valid for two years. If a licensee wishes to continue to operate the Money Service, he/she must apply for renewal before the expiry of the validity period.
According to section 30(3) of the Ordinance, the Director of Customs and Excise may grant a licence to operate a monetary service to an applicant or renew his licence only if he is satisfied that he or she has the following circumstances
(a) If the applicant is an individual, the individual and each of the ultimate owners are suitable persons to operate the money service;
(b) If the applicant is a partnership, each partner and each ultimate owner of the partnership is an appropriate person to carry on a pecuniary service;
(c) If the applicant is a corporation, each director and each ultimate owner of the corporation is an appropriate person to be associated with the operation of the money services business.
Where the licensee applicant or licensee is a corporation, the ultimate owner is
(a) directly or indirectly own or control (including through trusts or bearer shares) not less than 25% of the issued share capital of the corporation;
(b) the exercise of not less than 25 per cent of the right to vote, or the exercise of the right to vote in that proportion, directly or indirectly, at the general meeting of the members of the Corporation; or
(c) may exercise ultimate control over the administration of the corporation.
If different money service operators operate independent money service business in the same place, each money service operator sharing the same place must clearly distinguish between the place where they use to operate their business and the place where the business and transaction records are stored, so that visitors entering the premises clearly know which money service operator they are dealing with. Applicants should be able to show the Customs Officer that their business is not mixed with the business of other money service operators who share the same premises.
If the application is approved, the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong will formally issue a Money Service Operator Licence, which will be clearly stated on the licence
- Licensees may operate each premises of the Money Service
- Licensing conditions and licence validity period imposed or modified under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance
- The name and address of the licensee will also be included in the Register of Licensees of the Customs and Excise Department of Hong Kong
*Under the Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance, Bitcoin or other similar virtual goods are not “money” and are not covered by the regulatory regime enforced by Customs. The money service operator license granted by the Customs does not grant permission or permission to the relevant business forms of Bitcoin or similar virtual currency goods.
安排店鋪 / 辦公室
- Service Content and Application Process
Our services include:
- It is advisable to assist customers in applying for a licence or renewing a licence
- Advised clients on applying for a Hong Kong Money Service Operator Licence
- Prepare licence application documents and prepare the required documents for application
- Qualifications of Compliance Officer and Money Laundering Reporting Officer
- Assist clients in formulating and drafting anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing policies
- Assist clients in formulating and writing business plans
- Act as an intermediary liaison between clients and regulators to follow up on the process and progress of licence applications in real time
- Arrange relevant computer systems, compliance systems (customer screening system, transaction record storage system).
- Arrange compliance training for directors and related employees
Company registration (takes about 10 working days).
Arrange shops / offices
Preparation of application documents (depending on the time of submission of information by the applicant).
Someone came to the door to paint the floor plan
Write a business plan and a policy on combating money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (3-4weeks).
Formal submission of the application (Customs confirms receipt of the application notification).
Arrange for directors to attend the licensing proficiency assessment examination
Customs meeting (approximately 4-8 weeks from the beginning of the month).
Inspection of place of business
Wait for the review of documents and audit results (take about 6-8 weeks from the beginning).
The application period is generally 4-6 months, although the processing time will vary depending on various factors, including the time required to collect the required documents from the applicant, conduct on-site inspections at the premises of business, and obtain records of suitable candidates from other organisations.
III. Documents Required for Application
- Information on directors and shareholders, as well as their relevant supporting documents
- Company registration documents
- Relevant application form
- Company bank account certificate
- Every premises that operates money services
i) A sealed lease or title record has been affixed
ii) Floor plan of the premises
iii) Employer Agreement
- Power of Attorney
- Business Plan
- Policies to combat money laundering and counter-terrorist financing
- Compliance Officer Identity Card Document, Proof of Address and Employment Agreement
- Identification documents of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer, proof of address and employment contract
- Transaction record storage system
- Customer screening system