According to local reports, financial service providers in Hong Kong are already taking the first steps to serve retail investors. Brokers and fund managers in the region have reportedly taken advice on licensing requirements ahead of the new legislation. Hong Kong lawmakers passed an amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO) in December 2022, in line with the region’s recent stance on expanding the possibility of cryptocurrency trading providers allowing retail investors to trade in virtual assets. Virtual asset trading is currently restricted to professional investors or traders with proof of at least $1 million in fundable assets.
Victory Securities and Interactive Brokers were the first Hong Kong brokers with SFC to trade virtual assets for their professional clients.
According to Deloitte Hong Kong’s digital asset leader, Robert Lui, retail investors will likely be able to trade virtual assets with high market capitalization and liquidity.
Currently, Hong Kong-based brokers are not required to obtain a specific license to service clients who trade Hong Kong-listed exchange-traded fund futures based on Bitcoin BTC. $16,720 in tickers, as well as Ether ETH tickers, are down $1,215. On the other hand, those who will offer virtual asset trading will require additional SFC approval.
The new licensing was initially scheduled for March 1 of this year, but it was pushed back to June 1 to give virtual asset service providers more time to prepare appropriately.
This comes after the SFC recently appointed Julia Leung as its new CEO. Leung began his term on January 1 and will remain in office for the next three years. He has previously spoken out about tightening local crypto standards. A senior Hong Kong’s central bank official recently said that it is investigating regulations to protect investors.