In Focus
ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Proposed revision in banking rules to make Hong Kong more competitive

Hong Kong begins a process of updating its Banking Ordinance on May 23.

The Financial Services & the Treasury Bureau said the amendments seek to remove from the Banking Ordinance certain licensing criteria for banks that have become unnecessarily restrictive and put Hong Kong at a disadvantage when compared with other international financial centres.

These licensing criteria to be repealed might restrict well-managed and reputable domestic and overseas institutions from establishing a presence in Hong Kong.

The amendments will be submitted to the Legislative Council on May 23 and, subject to its negative vetting, will take effect this July 12,.

Among the amendments is a proposal to remove the requirement for a bank licence applicant to have total customer deposits of not less than HK$3 billion or US$386 million and total assets of not less than HK$4 billion. It also seeks to remove some impediments that restrict foreign banks from entering Hong Kong through the establishment of a locally incorporated subsidiary.

The proposed amendments arose from a review last year by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which concluded that some licensing conditions under the Banking Ordinance applying to Hong Kong are not found in other major financial markets such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and Singapore. These conditions are also not part of the international standards for banking supervision and regulation.

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