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Hong Kong SFC to Amend Professional Investor Rules in July 2018

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has released consultation conclusions on proposed amendments to the Securities and Futures (Professional Investor) Rules (PI Rules) to standardise the rules for prescribing professional investors.  The amendments allow portfolios held in joint accounts with non-associates and in investment corporations wholly-owned by an individual to count towards meeting the threshold to qualify as a professional investor (Note 1).

” Hong Kong SFC to Amend Professional Investor Rules in July 2018 “

The categories of professional investors will be expanded to include corporations which have investment holding as their principal business and are wholly-owned by one or more professional investors, as well as corporations which wholly own another corporation which is a qualified professional investor. In addition, alternative forms of evidence will be allowed to demonstrate qualification as a professional investor (Note 2).

The proposed amendments will be submitted to the Legislative Council for negative vetting. Subject to the legislative process, the SFC expects the amended rules to come into effect on 13 July 2018.

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  1. “Portfolio” is defined in the PI Rules as a portfolio comprising securities, certificates of deposit issued by banks or money held by custodians for a person. The PI Rules define the term “associate” as the spouse or any child of an individual.
  2. These refer to public filings made under legal or regulatory requirements and certificates issued by custodians. Certificates issued by auditors or certified public accountants will be allowed for all professional investors.

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

“The changes to the rules for prescribing professional investors are in the best interest of the industry to ensure a level-playing field and consistent application of the regulations.  They will introduce consistency and flexibility and this will better serve the interests of both firms and their clients.


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