Corporate Banking in Hong Kong and Singapore
Corporate banking in Hong Kong and Singapore is relatively straightforward—as long as the requested documentation is delivered. This is key to the smooth opening of a new account and the fulfilment of annual compliance checks. Preparation is particularly important for foreign-owned businesses, which may face greater scrutiny.
There are legitimate regulatory reasons why banks enforce stringent requirements. Ultimately, it is critical to address banks’ requests in a timely and documented manner.
Opening an account
The multifaceted guidelines and Know Your Customer procedures – which vary significantly between banks – can leave business owners feeling overwhelmed. Lengthy questionnaires, long approval processes and additional information requests are among the challenges facing applicants, both in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Need support to ensure the process runs smoothly?
Connect with our expert teams, who can identify best-fit banks and help you prepare the necessary documentation for your application.
Key considerations for business owners
1. Documentation: Banks in Hong Kong and Singapore will carry out an internal risk assessment to determine the financial stability of a company. The greater the risk posed, the greater scrutiny a company will face. Typically, companies are expected to provide:
- Business plan
- Tax-related information
- Certificates of incorporation
- Articles of association
- Financial statements and financial standing forecast
- Owner identification documents
- Details of corporate ownership and management structures
2. UBO checks: In both jurisdictions, banks require Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) to undergo Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) checks to comply with financial regulations. UBOs must also comply with international tax regulations like the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
3. Overseas owners: Business owners residing overseas are usually required to be present for a face-to-face meeting in Hong Kong and Singapore to open an account, although some banks in Singapore are now allowing video communications. An existing relationship with the bank in another territory may also be beneficial.
Annual bank account maintenance
In Singapore, annual bank account reviews are not mandated by the Monetary Authority. However, in Hong Kong, it is now a standard practice among all financial institutions. Companies must provide up-to-date legal and financial documents or risk hefty fines and account closure.
How can Fiducia support you?
Fiducia Management Consultants supports numerous international businesses to handle applications and conduct annual reviews.
Bank account opening and annual review
- Liaise and arrange appointments with banks
- Verify and gather due diligence documents
- Arrange certification of required documents
Trusted bank signatory
- Provide bank signatories to sign banking transactions
Provision of company secretary and registered office
- Act as Company Secretary for the company, a mandatory requirement in Hong Kong and Singapore
- Keep track of annual filing requirements, such as Annual Returns and Business Registration
- Provide a nominee director
- Authorised tax representative
- Corporate health check to ensure fiscal compliance
- Individual cross-border tax advisory
- Individual income tax handling
Contact us to get support from our knowledgeable Corporate Services and Tax teams, based in Hong Kong and Singapore.