But the banks don’t want to open up. Some say it is because they prefer dealing with only bigger clients anyway and use this as an excuse, while others say it really is because they want to be extra careful to avoid fines from US regulators.
HSBC SME centers are all over Hong Kong. I went with my friend Mike “The Greek” as he doesn’t currently have an HSBC account. We went to the Jordan branch on Nathan road without an appointment.
Entering the retail bank location on the ground floor, the greeter asked how to help us. She was friendly and when we said a business account, sent us to the SME center on the 18th floor.
The secretary greeted us and then had a small business banking client rep meet us in a conference room within about 5 minutes. He asked us to confirm it was a business account for a Hong Kong limited company. He also asked if it was for a new company or a company that was older than one year.
He then gave us a checklist, which I’ll type out here:
* True copy Certification of Incorporation
* CPA / lawyer / banker / notary public in a Financial Action Task Force (FATC) member comparable jurisdiction acceptable to HSBC or
* Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) member, or
* HSBC branch officer
Recommended format: Certified must sign and date the copy document (printing his/her name clearly in capitals underneath) and clearly indicate his/her position on it. Certifier must state that it is a true copy of the original (or words to similar effect) and the number of pages to be recorded
Number of directors needed to form a quorum / beneficial owners to be present for the account opening.
* For the sample of the required documents please refer to the website www.commercia.hsbc.com.hk/1/2/sampledoc_e
A. Company Registration Documents
1. Certificate of Incorporation (CI) and change of name (if applicable)
2. Valid Business Registration Certificate (BRC)
3. Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A) / Articles of association and any amending resolutions.
4. Latest notification of change of secretary and director (appointment/cessation) (form D2A/ND2A), return of allotments (form SC1/NSC1) and/or Instrument of Transfer, if applicable.
5. (For newly established company)
5a) Company Search report / company particulars search issued within 6 months and
5b) Incorporation form (NC1 /NNC1) or (NC1G/NNC1G) / Notification of First Secretary and Director (form D1) and
5c) Director / Shareholder / Beneficial owner declaration (DD),sample available upon request, issued within 6 months.
6) For company established over 1 year
6a) Company search report / company particulars search issued within 6 months and
6b) Latest Annual Return (form AR1/NAR1)
B. Documents Required from 2 Directors, All Authorized Signatories, All beneficial owners, and 2 key Controllers
– Identification document and nationality proof
C. Documents Required from 2 Directors, All Authorized Signatories, All beneficial owners, and 2 key Controllers
C1: Residential Address proof
C2: Permanent Address proof (if different from residential address)
D. Documents Required from 2 Directors, All Authorized Signatories, All beneficial owners, All key Controllers, and ALL direct appointees
D1: Full name, ID type, number, and date of birth.
E. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Documents
Applicable HSBC declaration form and/or IRS W form to establish your tax status under FATCA. For document templates and more information about FATCA, please refer to the HSBC website at www.faca.hsbc.com/en/emb/hongkong or IRS website at www.irs.gov/FATCA
F. Payments and Forms for Account Opening
F1. HKD check of 10,000 HKD for initial deposit, company search, and special company account opening charges, where applicable. (Please refer to the latest commercial tariff – http://www.commercial.hsbc.com.hk/1/2/commercial)
F2. Mandate, account opening form, and signature cards
G. Additional Documents Required for Special Companies
G1. Corporate Shareholders
Ownership structure chart showing company name, % shareholding, the country of incorporation, the country of business address in each Intermediate Owner up to the Beneficial Owners of the company and specifying the issuance of bearer shares in the chain of ownership (including the company, all Intermediate Owners and Beneficial Owners), certified by director. Indicate if there are family members amount the Beneficial Owners and the family’s total collective % shareholding, if applicable.
G2. If Beneficial Owners in your Company is a Trust
Trust deed, identification proof and residential address proof, and identification proof of trustee.
The process was so fast it amazed me. The SME center was empty. We went at 10:30am on a Thursday so maybe that was a good time to go. Maybe I should come to this branch more often, the TST and Central branches are so overloaded whenever I visit there.