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ACCOUNT OPENING REQUIREMENTS

ACCOUNT OPENING REQUIREMENTS

OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT FOR YOUR NEW COMPANY

 

We will be pleased to provide guidance on the choice of bank for your new Hong Kong company helping you to select a bank in Hong Kong or overseas that is best aligned with your intended business activities.

Once you have decided which bank to use the following guide will assist you to prepare for your account opening by providing an overview of the regulations applicable to opening a company bank account 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.

 

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS

 

All banks are required to comply with international Anti-Money Laundering regulations when opening new company accounts which require the banks to:

  • meet or arrange a videoconference interview with the company’s owners and directors to verify their identity.
  • gain an understanding of the intended business activity of their client’s Hong Kong company.
  • conduct a business background review to ensure their client’s business experience is directly relevant to the intended business activity of the new company.

The objective of the regulations is to ensure banks avoid providing banking services to companies who intend to engage in criminal activities.

 

HOW TO ILLUSTRATE THE INTENDED BUSINESS ACTIVITY OF YOUR NEW COMPANY TO THE BANK

 

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 including:

  • details of the products or services to be provided by your new company preferably supported by a website or a brochure to illustrate the product or service.
  • an estimate of your new company’s annual turnover, an estimate of the average transaction value and an estimate of the frequency of transactions.
  • details of the target market for your new company’s products or services including disclosing the countries where major customers are located.
  • details of any contracts or orders secured or under negotiation including relevant supporting documentation.
  • details of where your new company will source it’s products if your new company is a trading company.
  • details of how your new company will operate including disclosure of who will manage the day to day operations of the company and disclosure of the address from where your new company will operate.

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.

 

BUSINESS BACKGROUND REVIEW

 

All banks will conduct a business background review to verify your business experience is directly relevant 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 a Hong Kong resident or an overseas resident as below:

If you are a Hong Kong resident and your business experience has been gained from employment you will need to provide the bank with:

  • a copy of your CV.
  • a copy of your most recent contract of employment or a copy of a recent payslip so the bank can verify your employment as shown on your CV.
  • a copy of any relevant professional or technical qualifications.

If you are an overseas resident and your business experience has been gained from employment you will need to provide the bank with the same information as above but the background checks are more stringent and most banks will usually require that you have a minimum of 5 years relevant business experience before they will open an account for your new company.

If you are a Hong Kong resident and own an existing business you will need to provide the bank with:

  • the name of your existing Hong Kong company and a copy of its last Annual Return.
  • the website address of your existing Hong Kong company or a copy of a brochure.

If you are an overseas resident and own an existing business in your country of residence you will need to provide the bank with:

  • the name of your existing overseas company and a copy of its last Annual Return or other documents from the relevant government authority showing the current ownership of the company.
  • the website address of your existing overseas company or a copy of a brochure.
  • a copy of invoices or contracts to support a recent transaction undertaken by the overseas company in order the bank can verify the activity of the overseas company. Ideally the invoices or contracts will be between the overseas company and a company located in Hong Kong or China.

In order to assist the bank with their background review we suggest you also 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 is important to understand the bank has no prior knowledge of yourself and you hence need to provide the bank with sufficient information to ensure the bank can understand your business experience.

OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT WITH A BANK IN HONG KONG

 

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority requires all banks operating in Hong Kong to conduct account opening meetings in Hong Kong.

All shareholders owning 10% or more of the shares of the new company, a majority of the board of directors and all authorized signatories must attend the account opening meeting and present their passport and a utility bill (or bank statement) showing their current residential address which is dated no more than 60 days prior to the date of the meeting. It is not possible for the account opening meeting to be held by video conference or at an overseas branch of the Hong Kong bank.

It should be noted in cases where the owner of the Hong Kong company is an overseas resident most banks in Hong Kong will usually only open accounts where it can be shown the new company will be doing business with companies in Asia (and preferably 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.

 

OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT WITH AN OFFSHORE BANK

 

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.

 

NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPENING BANK ACCOUNTS OR DETAILS ABOUT OUR COMPANY INCORPORATION SERVICES?

 

Contact us today on +852 2877 2290 or via email at info@acshk.com to learn more about opening bank accounts and for details about our business registration and company formation services.