From the President: Update on the Progress in Strengthening Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing (“AML/CTF”) Risk-Based Supervision of Legal Practitioners 

I am pleased to inform members that the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) has completed its Follow-up Report and Technical Compliance Re-Rating 2023 (“Follow-up Report”) of the Mutual Evaluation Report 2019 (“MER”), resulting in an upgrade in respect of for Recommendation 28 (Supervision of DNFBPs) (“Recommendation 28”) from “Partially Compliant” to “Largely Compliant”. The Law Society, in particular the Anti-Money Laundering Committee under the supervision of Chairman Mr Michael Lintern-Smith worked closely with the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau over the course of 2022 to address the FATF requirements set out in Recommendation 28, largely focusing on enhancement of the AML/CTF oversight capabilities. 

The Law Society has taken a series of measures towards developing robust risk-based supervision of legal professionals’ compliance with their AML and CTF requirements. These included rolling out the sector-wide AML risk assessment (“AML Review”) to all law firms in Hong Kong, developing AML/CTF learning materials, best practice templates and guidance, and delivering AML/CTF workshops and forums. 

All these efforts were acknowledged by the Security Bureau as well as the FATF, and contributed to the re-rating of Recommendation 28 from “Partially Compliant” in MER 2019 to “Largely Compliant”. I take this opportunity to thank the members of the AML Committee and all those who have worked hard to contribute to this favourable outcome. Although the Law Society has achieved a significant milestone for the profession and Hong Kong as a whole, further work is required to develop our risk-based supervision of the legal sector to fully address the FATF recommendations.

Please visit the Law Society’s Members’ Zone under the Weekly Updates tab to read the President’s Letter dated 23 February 2023.

Click here to access the Follow-up Report under the Mutual Evaluation Report of Hong Kong 2019 tab.