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On 24 September 2020, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released new guidance on the remote onboarding process of corporate customers. 

Due to its multiple steps and complexities, the corporate onboarding process hasn’t historically been digitised as frequently and thoroughly as the onboarding process for individual customers.

Now, an official letter by Carmen Chu, the HKMA Executive Director for Enforcement and AML, may represent a key turning point for financial services in Hong Kong.

The document – which can be accessed in full here – clearly states that authorised institutions (AIs) have the flexibility to onboard corporate customers remotely under AML legislation in Hong Kong (i.e. the AMLO and the AML/CFT Guideline).

To dissipate any doubt regarding the need for face-to-face interaction at any point of the onboarding process, the circular specifies that “it is not necessary to ask a corporate’s representative to visit the AI’s business premise or to be physically present in front of a staff of the AI concerned in every case”.

While reinforcing the importance of adopting a risk-based approach also in the case of remote corporate onboarding, the HK regulator recognises that RegTech solutions are increasingly being used to enhance the process of onboarding corporate customers, allowing that, where used responsibly, technology “could help AIs manage risks more effectively and efficiently“.

Such a clear and detailed endorsement of digital solutions will likely foster an acceleration in digital transformation and technology adoption for providers of financial services to corporate customers.

At Know Your Customer, we specialise in providing end-to-end digital onboarding solutions to centralise and streamline every step of the corporate onboarding process.

Through direct connections to company registries, a vast range of customer-facing tools for document collection and ID verification, instant UBO unravelling and on-going AML monitoring, we help financial institutions in Hong Kong and around the world meet their regulatory requirements while delivering exceptional user experiences to their clients.

If you’d like to discuss remote corporate onboarding options for your business, please contact us here.

Last updated on May 9th, 2023 at 09:35 pm

Claus Christensen

Claus Christensen is the CEO & Co-Founder of Know Your Customer. His vast array of previous experiences includes founding a technology company that develops email server infrastructure products for 60,000+ global customers and serving as VP Electronics at Thielert Aircraft Engines. A regular contributor to leading industry publications and a recognised expert in the anti-money laundering and financial regulation space, Claus is also the host of the RegTalks podcast and a senior lecturer of the Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE)’s RegTech Course.