Hong Kong SFC starts Consults on Allowing Retail Investors on Virtual Asset Trading Platforms

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has launched a consultation on the proposed requirements for operators of virtual asset trading platforms.

The SFC has introduced a new licensing regime that will take effect on June 1, 2023, which will require all virtual asset trading platforms operating in Hong Kong or actively marketing to Hong Kong investors to be licensed by the SFC.

The SFC is seeking views on whether to allow licensed platform operators to serve retail investors, and if so, the measures to be implemented in addition to the proposed range of robust investor protection measures. 

The SFC's Chief Executive Officer, Ms Julia Leung, stated that the proposed requirements for virtual asset trading platforms include robust measures to protect investors, following the "same business, same risks, same rules" principle. The SFC intends to publish lists on its website to inform the public of the different regulatory statuses of VA trading platforms.

Operators of virtual asset trading platforms which plan to apply for a license, including pre-existing platforms, should begin to review and revise their systems and controls to prepare for the new regime. Those which do not plan to apply for a license should start preparing for an orderly closure of their business in Hong Kong. The SFC will continue working with the Investor and Financial Education Council to enhance investor education for the Hong Kong public. Interested parties are invited to submit their comments to the SFC on or before March 31, 2023, via the SFC website, email, post, or fax.


Policy and Regulation


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