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Gazettal of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 and Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2018
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     The Government published in the Gazette today (February 2) the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 and the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2018, in an effort to enhance Hong Kong's regulatory regime for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
 
     The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 applies statutory customer due diligence and record-keeping requirements to designated non-financial businesses and professions when they engage in specified transactions, and introduces a licensing regime for trust or company service providers (TCSPs) to require them to apply for a licence from the Registrar of Companies and satisfy a "fit-and-proper" test before they can provide trust or company services as a business in Hong Kong. The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 requires companies incorporated in Hong Kong to maintain beneficial ownership information by way of keeping a "significant controllers register" for inspection upon demand by law enforcement officers.
 
     The amendment ordinances were enacted by the Legislative Council on January 24, 2018 and will commence operation on March 1, 2018.
 
     The amendment ordinances bring Hong Kong's regulatory regime up to date and in line with international requirements as promulgated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF is an inter-governmental body that sets international standards on combating money laundering and terrorist financing. Hong Kong has been a member of the FATF since 1991.
 
     A government spokesperson said, "The two amendment ordinances are pertinent to our fulfilment of the relevant FATF obligations, and will further reduce the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing in Hong Kong. This will safeguard the integrity of Hong Kong as an international financial centre, and add to our credibility as a trusted and competitive place to do business."