Guide to Setting Up a Family Office in Hong Kong: Steps and Requirements

Guide to Setting Up a Family Office in Hong Kong: Steps and Requirements

Creating a family office in Hong Kong involves following the steps below:

Step 1 - Decide on a Company Type and Name

The most common company type in Hong Kong is a Limited Company, where "Limited" refers to being limited by shares, which implies that shareholders' liability is confined to the extent of their share capital.

What are the requirements for incorporating a company in Hong Kong?

Once you've chosen the type of company you wish to establish, it's time to delve into the specific requirements. Let's outline the essential elements to consider for a limited company in Hong Kong:

  • Company Name – It should not match any existing company in Hong Kong and should not be offensive. Certain terms, like "bank," "trust," or "insurance," require approval from relevant regulatory bodies. If you opt for a limited company, its name must conclude with "limited".
  • Directors and Shareholders - a minimum of one director and one shareholder. The director can also serve as the sole shareholder, allowing a single individual to hold both roles.
    The person must be 18 years old or above, and may be a local Hong Kong citizen, or a foreigner (who does not have permanent residency in HK).
  • Share Capital - no minimum share capital requirement.
  • Company Secretary - manage statutory records, coordinate meetings, perform change of company information, and facilitate communication between the company and government bodies.
  • Registered Address – All Hong Kong companies must possess a registered address within the territory.
  • Designated Representative – responsible for reporting the Significant Controllers Register (SCR) to local authorities, disclosing the ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) of the company.

Step 2 - Incorporate a Company

Incorporate a company is an easy process and requires the below documents:

  • Incorporation Form (Form NNC1 for company limited by shares) or Form NNC1G (for company not limited by shares);
  • A copy of the company’s Articles of Association
  • A Notice to Business Registration Office (IRBR1)

Step 3 – Open a Bank Account

Once the company is set-up, a family office requires a bank account. Here we provide a list of documents that on average banks may require, but the list might be longer and more detailed according to the different bank:

  • Incorporation Documents: Business registration certificate, certificate of incorporation, and articles of association. These are all documents you get after incorporating your business, and that a company secretary can easily provide you;
  • Proof of Identity and Address: Documents for authorized signatories, directors, and beneficial owners. Some banks accept a utility bill as address proof, but is better to check with them first. Don’t forget that everything must be submitted translated in English or Chinese;
  • Business Plan;
  • Curriculum Vitae of the directors and shareholders;
  • Proof of business;
  • Initial Deposit.

Step 4 – Applying for the right license

In Hong Kong, Family Office (SFO or MFO) may need to obtain licenses or registrations from the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) if they engage in regulated activities related to securities and futures. The specific licensing requirements depend on the nature of the services provided. Here are some common types of licenses or registrations applicable to SFOs/MFOs in Hong Kong:

  1. Type 4 (Advising on Securities) License: If an MFO/SFO provides advice on securities, such as investment recommendations or portfolio management services, it may need to obtain a Type 4 license from the SFC.
  2. Type 9 (Asset Management) License: SFOs/MFOs that engage in asset management activities, including managing portfolios of securities or futures contracts on behalf of clients, may need to obtain a Type 9 license.
  3. Type 1 (Dealing in Securities) License: If an MFO/SFO conducts securities trading activities, such as executing trades on behalf of clients, it may need to obtain a Type 1 license.
  4. Type 5 (Advising on Futures Contracts) License: If an MFO provides advice on futures contracts or manages futures-related portfolios, it may need to obtain a Type 5 license.
  5. Type 2 (Dealing in Futures Contracts) License: SFOs/MFOs that engage in futures trading activities, such as executing futures trades for clients, may need to obtain a Type 2 license.


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