The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA) today (8 June) announced the PWMA’s adoption of the Treat Customers Fairly Charter for Private Wealth Management Industry (the Charter).
Developed through joint efforts of the HKMA and the PWMA, the Charter is aimed at private wealth management customers, and marks a milestone as a strong commitment by private wealth management institutions in Hong Kong to support and implement the principle of treating customers fairly. A copy of the Charter can be found in Annex 1.
The Charter incorporates five high-level principles together with examples of measures to guide PWMA members in their implementation. Private wealth management institutions are expected to consistently demonstrate that fair treatment of customers is at the heart of their business models, further inspiring customers’ confidence and trust in the private wealth management industry.
Mr Norman Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA, said, “To remain competitive as the premier private wealth management hub in Asia, Hong Kong’s private wealth management institutions need to have a strong corporate culture that offers highly professional services as well as fair treatment of customers. I am pleased to see the PWMA’s full support in promoting Treat Customers Fairly principle by promulgating the Charter today.”
The HKMA has issued a circular to articulate its expectation that all private banks should follow the Treat Customers Fairly principles enshrined in the Charter. Senior management and boards of directors of private banks should ensure that their institutions and relevant staff abide by these principles.
“The unanimous support for adopting the Charter at our recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) demonstrates a strong commitment on the part of our members to put clients’ interests at the heart of everything we do,” said Amy Lo, Chairman of the PWMA. “PWMA member firms understand that this commitment is key to nurturing clients’ trust and building a sound foundation for the continued growth of Hong Kong as a private wealth management hub.”
The PWMA approved the Charter’s adoption at its AGM on 28 April 2017. Following this approval, the Charter now applies to all members of the PWMA (Annex 2), currently 47 firms in total.
“The recently launched Pilot Apprenticeship Programme for Private Wealth Management, which is co-organised by the HKMA and the PWMA, is a good example of putting the principles of the Charter into action,” said Peter Stein, PWMA’s Managing Director. The Pilot Apprenticeship Programme offers full-time students at institutions funded by the University Grants Committee a multi-year experience dedicated to training in private wealth management, including exposure to areas such as compliance, risk management, conduct and ethics. “The Pilot Apprenticeship Programme underscores strong commitment to ensuring the next generation of talent is provided training at an early stage to maintain high standards of professional competence and integrity,” Mr. Stein said.
To implement the TCF Charter, PWM institutions also support the setting of clear policies and procedures to promote transparency, reasonableness and efficiency in the execution of customer due diligence processes and joining international efforts for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing work. Further, implementation of the Charter is also demonstrated in the collective efforts of the PWMA with the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the HKMA in developing a fact sheet on the automatic exchange of financial account information, commonly known as AEOI, an important part of global efforts supported by Hong Kong to enhance tax transparency and combat cross-border tax evasion. The factsheet helps address the commonly asked questions by bank customers on the new development, and seeks to help customers and prospective customers understand their reporting obligations(http://www.pwma.org.hk/Uploads/5915798601a50.pdf).
In line with the spirit of the Charter, the PWMA has also enhanced its Code of Ethics and Conduct recently to elaborate certain guidelines about upholding client information confidentiality and selling of in-house investment products (http://www.pwma.org.hk/Uploads/5913e0f461ecd.pdf).
The Treat Customers Fairly Charter for Private Wealth Management Industry has been compiled drawing on good practices locally and overseas and from the G20 High-Level Principles on Financial Consumer Protection. It is designed to complement, not change, current law or regulations or the existing terms and conditions between banks and their customers.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Private Wealth Management Association
8 June 2017