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 we will assist you to prepare for your account opening by providing an overview of the Anti-Money Laundering 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.
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. An unfortunate side effect of the regulations is it has become more time consuming for legitimate businesses to open company bank accounts than in the past… and in order to minimise delay it is vital to ensure you are properly prepared prior to submitting an account opening application to the banks. The following guide will help you to prepare.
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:
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 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:
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:
If you are an overseas resident and own an existing business in your country of residence you will need to provide the bank with:
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 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 (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.
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.