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Hong Kong SFC Provides Guidance on Use of Instant Messaging to Receive Orders from Clients

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has issued a circular to intermediaries to provide guidance on the use of instant messaging applications to receive orders from clients.

” Hong Kong SFC Provides Guidance on Use of Instant Messaging to Receive Orders from Clients “

The circular encourages firms to take adequate measures to ensure compliance with the requirements, which include keeping proper records of messages relating to client orders and ensuring they are accessible for monitoring and audit purposes, validating client identities and maintaining adequate safeguards to prevent unauthorised account access and cybersecurity attacks.  Intermediaries are required to keep the records for more than two years.

Clients should be made aware of the security risks of using instant messaging applications. Firms should also inform clients about their contingency plans to cope with disruptions affecting instant messaging services.

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SFC may take regulatory action against firms which receive orders through instant messaging applications without taking sufficient measures to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements.

Julia Leung, SFC’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Intermediaries:

“Brokers should put in place adequate measures to ensure the security and reliability of instant messaging applications used for receiving client orders.  Investors should fully understand that using instant messaging to place orders exposes them to potential risks such as phishing, account theft and impersonation.”

Source: SFC

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