Amendments to the HKSFC Code of Conduct

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Following the conclusion of a two-month public consultation period, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) announced on 21 May 2012 amendments to the Code of Conduct for Persons Licensed by, or Registered with, the SFC (the Code), to both facilitate the establishment of the new Financial Dispute Resolution Centre Ltd (FDRC) and to enhance the existing regulatory framework, specifically to strengthen effective enforcement against market misconduct. These amendments will have an impact on all licensed and registered persons in Hong Kong and, indirectly, their in-house or group compliance function.

Financial institutions regulated by the SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) will now be required to participate in the Financial Dispute Resolution Scheme and to inform their clients about their rights to refer disputes to the FDRC. Through mediation and/or arbitration, the FDRC is expected to provide investors with an expeditious and affordable solution to their financial disputes. The FDRC-related amendments to the Code will come into effect on 19 June 2012. Licensed corporations and registered institutions should make the appropriate amendments to the dispute resolution provisions in their client agreements.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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