Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Martin Hennecke

SFC to waive $117m licensing fees
The Securities and Futures Commission yesterday said it would waive annual licensing fees for the financial year 2020/21 to relieve the regulatory cost burden on the securities and futures industry. Around 47,000 licensees will benefit from the move, which will cost the financial market watchdog HK$117.5 million in foregone revenue for 2020/21 in addition to the 50 percent waiver announced earlier this year. In March, the SFC decided to resume the collection of annual licensing fees from all intermediaries and licensed individuals from April 1, with a concession rate of 50 percent applicable for a two-year period. "We hope this goodwill gesture will provide a certain degree of financial relief for over 47,000 licensees and registrants in particular smaller firms amidst the current economic downturn," SFC chief executive Ashley Alder said. The fee waiver applies to annual licensing fees payable by all licensed corporations, registered institutions, responsible officers and representatives. It does not apply to any other fees, such as license application fees and transfer fees. Moreover, the annual licensing fees payable before April 1, 2020, will not be affected. SFC projected in February a budget deficit of HK$229.76 million for the next financial year, but it has not requested any appropriation from the Legislative Council for the budget, as in previous years.

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