Hong Kong’s SFC marks rise in license applications in quarter to end-September

Maria Nikolova

In the quarter to end-September, the regulator received 2,354 licence applications, up 15.9% from the preceding quarter.

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has earlier today published its Quarterly Report for the three-month period until end-September 2018. The data indicate a rise in the number of license applications received by the regulator in the quarter, in both annual and quarterly terms.

As at September 30, 2018, the number of licensees and registrants reached 46,063, up 5% year-on-year, and the number of licensed corporations increased 9% to 2,844. The SFC reviewed 118 new listing applications, up 7.3% from the previous quarter.

In the quarter to end-September, the SFC received 2,354 licence applications, up 15.9% from the preceding quarter and 14.6% year-on- year. The number of corporate applications increased 13% from the last quarter to 85, up 6% year-on-year.

Source: SFC Quarterly Report.

Let’s note that, in the face of this positive numbers, the SFC has been subject to criticism over the speed of reviewing licensing applications. In October this year, the Process Review Panel (PRP) for the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) published its annual report for 2017-18.

In 2017-18, PRP reviewed eight licensing cases. The processing time for these cases ranged from six months to 15 months.

PRP considered that the SFC Licensing Department had taken longer time than necessary to process an application. PRP suggested that the Department should review its process in light of the changing circumstances in the financial market. Also, it should streamline its workflow in order to cope with the workload arising from the growth in the number of licensees and a wider range of regulated activities carried out by the licensees.

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