HKMA Encourages Remote Onboarding to Manage Covid-19 Challenges
08 Apr 2020

The HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) has issued circulars to authorised institutions and SVF (stored value facility) licensees encouraging the use of technology to enable remote onboarding and account opening services.

“We believe the use of FinTech will provide significant opportunities to manage some of the challenges presented by the current situation, especially the community efforts on social distancing,” the HKMA said to AIs, adding that more than 10 retail banks have already launched remote account opening services, while other banks are considering or testing similar initiatives.

AIs are encouraged to provide greater convenience for account opening and continued access, physically and digitally, to essential banking services to the public. For lower ML/TF risks, the HKMA reiterates that it already allows SDD (simplified due diligence) measures to be taken, which it says may help AIs adapt to the current situation.

For residents opening accounts solely for the purpose of the government’s HKD 10,000 cash payout scheme, AIs should apply “the least extent of customer due diligence” as commensurate with the circumstances.

The HKMA also notes that SVF licensees have been offering network-based products to help support the payment needs of members of the public amid the Covid-19 crisis. It encourages the continued provision of account opening and payments convenience to the public.

SVF licensees may conduct CDD (customer due diligence) measures commensurate with the lower ML/TF risks of many SVF products based on their stored values, transaction limits and functions, it says.

The HKMA’s circulars are aligned with the 1 April statement from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force), which encourage the use of “the fullest use” of reliable digital customer on-boarding, while also drawing attention to Covid-19 related financial crime risks.

Read more at Regulation Asia

Photo: Minghong [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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