Global banks scrutinize their Hong Kong clients for pro-democracy ties – sources
The checks at some wealth managers have involved combing through comments made by clients and their associates in public and in media, and social media posts in the recent past
(Reuters) – Global wealth managers are examining whether their clients in Hong Kong have ties to the city’s pro-democracy movement, in an attempt to avoid getting caught in the crosshairs of China’s new national security law, according to six people with knowledge of the matter.
Bankers at Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L), Julius Baer Gruppe AG (BAER.S) and UBS Group AG (UBSG.S), among others, are broadening scrutiny under their programs that screen clients for political and government ties and subjecting them to additional diligence requirements, these people said.
The designation, called politically exposed persons, can make it more difficult or altogether prevent people from accessing banking services, depending on what the bank finds about the person’s source of wealth or financial transactions.
The checks at some wealth managers have involved combing through comments made by clients and their associates in public and in media, and social media posts in the recent past, these people said. The new law prohibits what Beijing describes broadly as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with up to life in prison for offenders.