Why company bank account opening became so complicated?
The International efforts in combating illegal activities including money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion have stepped up significantly. The act, coupled with various sanctions regimes. The regimes prompted banks to enhance their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) controls in general. Including a more stringent customer due diligence (CDD) process for existing and new customers. Therefore, compared with 5 to 10 years ago, the current account opening process is more complex and takes longer time.
Why banks set up so many barriers?
Apart from local requirements, some banks need to also comply with the requirements or standards mandated by their head offices or overseas authorities. The account opening requirements of these banks may therefore vary. If you want to open a bank account, you better approaching several banks. Then to compare and select services that suit your needs. This blog aims to provide some information and tips on account opening and maintenance in Hong Kong for customers’ reference.
What is Hong Kong Situation?
Banks in Hong Kong is similar to other financial centres. Local banks do not have identical checklist of information required for account opening. Since individual banks formulate policies in accordance with their own business strategies and risk assessments.
What information you need to prepare?
In general, banks may obtain the following information or require the relevant original documents when handling applications of personal or corporate bank accounts:
Identification documents, for example:
– Identity card
– Travel document
Residential address information
– For the avoidance of doubt, a bank may, under certain circumstances, require verification (on top of collection) of residential address from a customer for other purposes (e.g. group requirements, other local or overseas legal and regulatory requirements). In such circumstances, the bank should communicate clearly to the customer the reasons of requiring verification of address.
Corporate identification documents, for example:
– Certificate of incorporation
– Report from a company registry
– Certificate of Incumbency;
– Certificate of good standing;
– Record of registration;
– Partnership agreement of deed; or
– Constitutional document
Information of the address of registered office and principal place of business (if different from the address of registered office)
Information of the beneficial owner(s), for example:
– Identification document of the beneficial owner(s)
– Details of the ownership and control structure of the company
Purpose and intended nature of account, for example:
– Purpose of the account
– Expected account activities
– Business nature and mode of operation
Information of the person acting on behalf of the customer, for example:
– Identification document of the person acting on behalf of the customer
– Authorisation document
Last but not the least, the information required for account opening set out above is for reference only. According to the actual circumstances (such as the backgrounds of the applicants, the requested banking services, etc.) and their risk assessments, banks may require applicants to submit other types of or additional information and documentation, for example, information and documents related to Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (AEOI), etc. Customers may contact the banks concerned or visit their websites to check for the required information.
For further information, please contact us.