On April 27, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) issued a reminder to banks that Anti-Money Laundering (AML) measures should be applied reasonably when dealing with virtual asset clients. Banks should not make it unnecessarily difficult for clients to open accounts, and should treat them fairly and enhance access to basic banking services through transparent and efficient procedures, according to HKMA Deputy CEO Arthur Yuen. While some virtual asset businesses pose higher AML risks than others, the HKMA expects regulated virtual asset service providers to be able to successfully apply for a bank account through a reasonable process.
A circular containing guidance and best practices will be released, and a roundtable for the banking industry and virtual asset service providers to exchange views will be held on April 28. Hong Kong is pushing to become a world crypto hub, and is expected to benefit from the United States’ increasingly stringent anti-crypto stance.