Sovereign Group is among the first companies in Hong Kong to secure a licence under the new regime for trust and company service providers (TCSPs).
Under the new licensing regime, TCSPs are required to apply for a licence from the Registrar of Companies and satisfy a ‘fit-and-proper’ test before they can provide trust or company services as a business in Hong Kong.
Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong) Limited and its operating sister companies – Sovereign Fiduciaries (Hong Kong) Limited, Sovereign Fiduciaries Services Limited and Sovereign Trustees Limited – have all been granted TCSP licences, the Gibraltar-headquartered firm revealed in a statement.
Hong Kong trust companies have traditionally not had their own regulatory regime. Under the new rules, the Registrar has the power to grant, refuse to grant, renew, suspend or revoke a licence, and impose or vary any conditions in relation to a licence. A TCSP licence will generally be valid for three years.
Any person who carries on a trust or company service business in Hong Kong without a license after 1 March 2018 will commit an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine up to HK$100,000 and imprisonment up to six months.
Julia Connolly, director of Sovereign Trust (Hong Kong), said: “The introduction of the TCSP licensing regime is an important step in fulfilling the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in respect of Hong Kong. It means that Hong Kong can once again act as the commercial service centre for the Far East and welcome investors that wish to take advantage of the excellent professional services available in Hong Kong and have their affairs settled under Hong Kong law.”
These new licences add to the 31 professional licences held by Sovereign Group companies around the world, including in the Bahamas, Bahrain, the BVI, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dubai, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Malta, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Singapore, Turks & Caicos Islands and the UK.