The Insurance Authority has issued an explanatory note to provide guidance on the extent to which certain banking activities involving insurance would be regarded as regulated activities under the new regulatory regime for insurance intermediaries (to read further on the new regime which came into operation on 23 September 2019, please refer to our blog posts here and here). The explanatory note has been prepared in consultation with (amongst others) the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Hong Kong Association of Banks.

The new regulatory regime for insurance intermediaries is an activities-based regime and applies to any person carrying on a regulated activity. Accordingly, a bank (or its staff) may potentially be caught under the new regime if it carries on a regulated activity (for example, advising a bank client on a particular insurance product) or holds itself out as carrying on a regulated activity.

The explanatory note includes a set of FAQs containing examples of circumstances where a bank or its staff may be regarded as carrying on a regulated activity (and therefore would need to be licensed, unless an exemption applies). Authorized Institutions (and their staff) are encouraged to review the explanatory note to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements under the Insurance Ordinance.

A copy of the explanatory note (issued on 22 October 2019) can be accessed here.