Welcome to Herbert Smith Freehills’ monthly private wealth industry updates in Asia.

Every month we survey ten Asian jurisdictions for legal developments concerning trust and estate planning which are of interest to the private wealth industry, and provide a succinct summary in a table format.  The jurisdictions covered in the update are Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. We hope that these updates will prove to be a useful resource to keep private clients, business people, and lawyers abreast of legal updates in the region.

Hong Kong

Consultation conclusions on virtual asset exchanges issued

The Hong Kong Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau has issued its consultation conclusions regarding the licensing and regulation of virtual asset exchange operators.

The conclusions provide, amongst other things, for the licensing of virtual asset service providers, and that licensed virtual asset exchanges may only offer their services to professional investors and institutional investors, and not to retail customers.


Revised Guidelines on Licensing, Registration and Conduct of Business for Fund Management Companies released

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has released revised Guidelines on Licensing, Registration and Conduct of Business for Fund Management Companies, which set out the eligibility criteria, application procedures and ongoing business conduct requirements for licensed fund management companies, venture capital fund managers and registered fund management companies.


The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has granted preliminary approval for a wealth management joint venture between Goldman Sachs and the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The venture will be 51%-owned by Goldman Sachs’s asset management arm, while ICBC’s wealth management business will own the remainder of the venture.


Increase to overseas investment limits for mutual funds

The Securities and Exchange Board of India has announced amendments to the overseas investment limits for mutual funds. The amendments provide that:

  • mutual funds can make overseas investments subject to a maximum of US$1 billion per mutual fund, within the overall industry limit of US$7 billion;
  • mutual funds can make investments in overseas exchange traded funds subject to a maximum of US$300 million per mutual fund, again within the overall industry limit of US$1 billion; and

in respect of investment limits to be disclosed in the scheme documents at the time of a new fund offer as specified in the relevant Circular and the investment limits on ongoing schemes as specified in the relevant Circular, such  limits will henceforth be soft limits for the purpose of reporting only by mutual funds on a monthly basis in the prescribed format.


BNM releases e-money exposure draft

The Bank Negara Malaysia has released an exposure draft setting out proposed requirements and guidance for issues of electronic money (e-money) approved pursuant to section 11 of the Financial Services Act 2013 or the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013. The proposals in the exposure draft outline the regulatory requirements that e-money issuers must fulfil as well as expectations for the operation of an e-money business.


SECT notes support of AIMC’s Three-Year Sustainable Roadmap

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (SECT) has issued a press release announcing that it supports the Association of Investment Management Companies’ (AIMC’s) Three-Year Sustainable Roadmap (the “Roadmap“) and the Thailand ESG Data Framework (the “Framework“).

The Roadmap aims to support the sustainable development of funds and the investment management industry, with the action plan under the Roadmap being as follows:

  1. developing the Framework to enhance fund managers’ duty performance according to the I Code (an investment governance code for institutional institutions);
  2. enhancing the knowledge and expertise of professionals in the investment management industry by incorporating ESG factors into investment decision making, and

developing ESG/Sustainable Investment products, covering mutual funds, real estate investment trusts (REIT), property funds and infrastructure funds, including alternative ESG investments for members of provident funds.


Revised Guidelines on the Submission of Documents, Issuance of Payment Assessment Form, Other Requests and Compliance released

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippines, has released Revised Guidelines on the Submission of Documents, Issuance of Payment Assessment Form, Other Requests and Compliance. These guidelines are applicable to various types of organisations including but not limited to investment companies and financing companies which are under the supervision of the Philippines Corporate Governance and Finance Department.

The contents of this document are for reference purposes only. Some of the information comes from public sources and this may not be comprehensive, accurate or up to date; where we have relied on third party information and sources, this has not been verified by us. The document does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication, and any facts in this document should be checked for your specific circumstances at the time you wish to use or refer to them.


Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.