Increasingly stringent Anti-Money Laundering regulations means opening a company bank account in 2018 is no longer a simple matter of just walking into a bank, signing a form and the account is opened.
Our below guide provides an overview of the Anti-Money Laundering regulations and an outline of the information and documents you should expect to provide to the banks when applying to open an account for your new company. It is important to take the time to understand these requirements to ensure you are properly prepared before submitting your account opening application to the banks.
All banks are required to comply with international Anti-Money Laundering regulations when opening new company accounts which require the banks to:
The objective of the regulations is to ensure banks avoid providing banking services to criminal or terrorist organisations.
You will need to prepare a brief presentation for the bank that will clearly illustrate the intended business activity of your new Hong Kong company.
Your presentation should include:
It is important to understand the bank has no prior knowledge of your company and your presentation hence needs to provide sufficient information to ensure the bank can properly understand the intended business activity of your new company.
All banks will conduct a business background review to verify your business experience is related to the intended activity of your new Hong Kong company as this is considered an essential requirement in the prevention of money laundering.
The information you will need to provide to the bank will depend on whether you are an overseas resident or a Hong Kong resident and whether you own an existing business or whether your business experience has been gained from employment:
If you are an overseas resident and own an existing business in your country of residence you will need to provide the bank with:
If you are an overseas resident and your business experience has been gained from employment the banks will be more cautious about opening an account for your new company and will usually only open an account if you can show the bank that you have a minimum of 10 years relevant business experience. You will need to provide the bank with:
If you are a Hong Kong resident and own an existing business you will need to provide the bank with:
If you are a Hong Kong resident and your business experience has been gained from employment you will need to provide the bank with:
In all cases to assist the bank with their background review we suggest you provide the bank with a reference letter from your existing banker detailing the length of banking relationship and stating the relationship has been maintained in good order.
It should be noted the Hong Kong Monetary Authority requires all banks operating in Hong Kong to conduct account opening meetings in Hong Kong.
It should also be noted the banks in Hong Kong will usually only open accounts where it can be shown the new company will be selling to or buying from companies in Asia (preferably Hong Kong or China) or holding investments in Asia.
We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open a bank account in Hong Kong.
In cases where a client’s Hong Kong company will have no business activity in Asia we usually suggest that the company open an account with an offshore bank and we would be pleased to provide further details based on your planned activities.
In most cases accounts can be opened with an offshore bank without the need for clients to visit the bank hence this is a perfect solution for international clients as they can incorporate a Hong Kong company and open a bank account without the need to travel to Hong Kong.
We take the opportunity to refer you to our guide to the process to open a bank account in an offshore bank.
Contact us via email at email@example.com to learn more about opening bank accounts.