Opening a company bank account in 2019 is no longer a simple matter of just walking into a bank, signing a form and the account is opened. All banks are required to comply with international Anti-Money Laundering regulations which require the banks to obtain detailed information about your new business and your business experience before opening an account.
Our below guide provides an overview of the Anti-Money Laundering regulations applicable to opening a company account and an outline of the information and documents you should expect to provide to the banks when applying to open an account. 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.
The Anti-Money Laundering regulations require banks during the account opening process 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 relevant to the intended activity of your new Hong Kong company in order to prevent criminals posing as legitimate business operators.
The information you will need to provide to the bank will depend on how the bank classify your application:
(1) if you are an overseas resident and own an existing business in your country of residence, or
(2) if you are an overseas resident and your business experience has been gained from employment, or
(3) if you are a Hong Kong resident and own an existing business, or
(4) if you are a Hong Kong resident and your business experience has been gained from employment.
The information required for each category is detailed below:
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 5 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about opening bank accounts.