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1 March 2018, a new licensing regime for trust or company service providers (TCSPs) came into force.
Under the new licensing regime, TCSPs are required to apply for a licence from the Companies Registry and satisfy a “fit and proper” test before they can provide trust or company services as a business in Hong Kong.

TCSPs will need to comply with statutory customer due diligence and record keeping requirements pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615).

Any person carrying on trust or company service business in Hong Kong without a licence may be liable on conviction to a fine up to HK$100,000 and imprisonment up to 6 months.

1 March 2018, The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 (“The Amendment Ordinance”) introduces new requirements on the keeping of Significant Controllers Registers by companies. The Amendment Ordinance becomes effective 1 March 2018.

To enhance transparency of corporate beneficial ownership in order to fulfill Hong Kong’s international obligations, all companies incorporated in Hong Kong must obtain and maintain up-to-date beneficial ownership information by way of keeping a Significant Controller Register.

The Company must designate at least one person as its representative to provide assistance relating to the company’s significant controllers register to a law enforcement officer. The designated representative must be either a shareholder, director or an employee of the company who is a natural person resident in Hong Kong or, alternatively, an accounting professional, legal professional, or a person licensed to carry on a business as trust or company service provider.