Q9: Can the HKMA provide more examples of identification documents that can be used for verifying a customer’s identity in addition to those already specified in Chapter 4 of the AML Guideline?
A9: Since the AMLO came into effect in April 2012, the HKMA has made it very clear that the contents of the AML Guideline are not the exhaustive means by which the legal requirements can be met. AIs are afforded flexibility, based on professional judgement to determine whether alterative measures can meet those requirements.
In respect of identification documents that can be used for verifying a customer’s identity, the legal requirement refers to documents provided by a reliable and independent source (e.g. documents issued by a government body). The HKMA has illustrated this with a number of examples in paragraphs. 4.8.2 to 4.8.6 of the AML Guideline, which are not exhaustive and do not preclude AIs from accepting alternatives provided by other reliable and independent sources. Guidance or training should be provided to frontline staff on how to handle uncommon identification documents provided by customers, and escalation or advice should be sought rather than rejecting the application upfront.
Q10: What should AIs do where identification documents of customers are in a foreign language? Does the translation need to be performed by professional third party (e.g. solicitor)?
A10: Guidance on identification documents in a foreign language is provided in paragraph 4.5.1 of the AML Guideline and two examples are provided. These examples are non-exhaustive which means that AIs can adopt other alternative means so long as it is reasonably satisfied that the documents provide evidence of the customer’s identity. There is no requirement that the translation has to be performed by a professional third party (e.g. solicitor) or someone who is qualified; AIs may obtain a translation from a reliable source, which may include technology solutions and commonly used translation tools.
Q11: Can AIs make the purchase of an insurance policy or an investment product a condition for opening a bank account?
A11: No, it is unacceptable for an AI’s decision to open a bank account to be conditional on the customer’s agreement to purchase wealth management products or services such as an insurance policy.