Hong Kong SFC Waives Licensing Fees for Two Years

Hong Kong securities regulator SFC said it is waiving annual licensing fees for two years to reduce the industry's regulatory costs.

4 December 2019 | AtoZ Markets – The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) today announced waiving the annual licensing fees for the financial year of 2020/21.

What does the licensing fees waiver apply to?

The fee waiver applies to annual licensing fees payable by all licensed corporations, registered institutions, responsible officers and representatives. However, it does not apply to any other fees, such as licence application fees and transfer fees.

The annual licensing fees payable before 1 April 2020 will not be affected.

The decision is made to relieve the regulatory cost burden on the securities and futures industry having taken into account the current challenging market environment. Moreover, it will cost approximately $117.5 million in forgone revenue for the financial year 2020/21. This is in addition to the 50% waiver already announced earlier this year.

"We hope this goodwill gesture will provide a certain degree of financial relief for over 47,000 licensees and registrants in particular smaller firms amidst the current economic downturn," Chief Executive Officer of the SFC, Mr Ashley Alder said.

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Hong Kong SFC sets guidelines for granting licenses to crypto exchanges

Meanwhile, the regulator has also released a set of guidelines to pave the way for the issuance of operating licenses to cryptocurrency exchanges based in the city.

The SFC released the position paper a year after it proposed a “sandbox” approach to regulate crypto exchanges in the city. Alder said:

“After an in-depth examination of their unique technical and operational features, we concluded that some could be regulated by us.”

It also comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the stepped-up development of blockchain technology in the country on Oct. 24.

In recent years, a huge number of cryptocurrency traders in the region, mainly from mainland China, have shifted their operations to over-the-counter (OTC) trading platforms based in Hong Kong. That was after China banned crypto trading in 2017.

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