SFC releases FAQs simplifying compliance with electronic data storage requirements – But is it really as simple as it looks?

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has released its long awaited FAQs regarding its 31 October 2019 circular on the use of external electronic data storage providers (EDSP Circular). While there are some aspects of the FAQs which we anticipate will create practical challenges and will require some careful analysis to implement, we generally consider the FAQs to be a significant step forward and to provide much needed flexibility for the industry. Continue reading

First wave of United States sanctions against Iran re-imposed on 7 August 2018, as the amended EU Blocking Statute comes into effect on the same day

End of first wind-down period

Following President Trump’s decision on 8 May 2018 to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), the US government announced that it would re-impose pre-JCPOA nuclear related sanctions (both primary and secondary) that were lifted under the JCPOA. As we reported previously, two ‘wind-down’ periods – of 90 and 180 days respectively – commenced from the day of the announcement, during which non-US, non-Iranian companies were encouraged by the US government to withdraw from operations in Iran that would be affected by re-imposed sanctions.

On 6 August 2018 the first of these wind-down periods expired. President Trump issued a new Executive Order (“New EO”) re-imposing sanctions effective as of 7 August 2018. For our full briefing on the matter, please click here.


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On 24 May 2018, it was announced that the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act (the “Act”) had received Royal Assent. The Act is the first piece of UK primary legislation governing the post-Brexit legal position and will create a post-Brexit framework for the imposition and enforcement of sanctions and the replication of the pre-Brexit anti-money laundering (“AML”) compliance regime. Continue reading

Hong Kong SFC issues new guidance note and FAQs on regulatory cooperation and its benefits

On 12 December 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (the SFC) published its Guidance Note on Cooperation with the SFC (the Guidance).

The Guidance contains an updated section on disciplinary proceedings and a new section on proceedings in the civil courts and the Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT). It does not apply to criminal proceedings, which is subject to the unfettered discretion of the Department of Justice. The Guidance replaces the previous version issued in March 2006. Continue reading

Hong Kong SFC announces investor ID regime for Northbound trading under Stock Connect

On 30 November 2017, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced that it had reached an agreement with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) on proposals to introduce an investor identification (investor ID) regime for Northbound trading under the Mainland-Hong Kong Stock Connect schemes. The regime is intended to improve Mainland-Hong Kong cross-border market surveillance and is scheduled to be implemented by the third quarter of 2018. Continue reading


Following our earlier bulletin, on October 31, 2017, the US Department of State and Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) posted comprehensive guidance related to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (“CAATSA”). The new guidance addresses multiple provisions of CAATSA, mainly the provisions concerning secondary sanctions targeting Russia. The new guidance significantly limits and clarifies the scope of these secondary sanctions.

As detailed in our prior alert, on August 2, 2017, President Trump signed CAATSA into law. The legislation provided several new categories of primary and secondary sanctions relating to Russia, Iran and North Korea.

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