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MSO Hong Kong

MSO Hong Kong

MSO stands for Money Service Operator in Hong Kong. It's a licensed business that can offer currency exchange and remittance services.

Here's a quick rundown of MSOs in Hong Kong:

  • Licensing: Any company offering money services needs a license from the Commissioner of Customs and Excise (CCE) under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (AMLO). Not having a license is a serious offense.

  • Activities: MSOs typically provide money changing and remittance services. Money changing involves exchanging currencies, while remittance services involve sending or receiving funds internationally.

  • Regulation: The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) is responsible for regulating MSOs. They have guidelines and requirements MSOs must comply with.

How to obtain an MSO license

Getting an MSO license in Hong Kong involves several steps and meeting specific requirements set by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED). Here's a breakdown of the process:


  • Your business can be a Hong Kong-registered company (limited or unlimited liability) or a foreign company.

  • Directors and ultimate owners must pass a "fit and proper person" test to demonstrate good character and financial standing.

Key Requirements:

  • Company Registration: You'll need a valid business registration certificate.

  • Premises: Secure suitable office space and register its address with the C&ED. This includes a location for storing business records.

  • Business Plan & AML Policy: Prepare a comprehensive business plan outlining your money service operations and a documented Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) policy.

  • Competence Assessment: Pass a written test to assess your knowledge of money service regulations and AML/CFT procedures.

  • Bank Account: Open a dedicated bank account specifically for your money service business.

  • Application Forms: Complete and submit the relevant application forms (Form 1 for new licenses, Form 2 for renewals) along with supporting documents.

The Process:

  1. Review the C&ED's Money Service Operators Licensing System website for detailed information and downloadable forms:

  2. Ensure your company and personnel meet eligibility requirements.

  3. Prepare all necessary documents, including business plan, AML/CFT policy, and supporting documentation for directors and owners.

  4. Submit your application electronically or in person.

  5. Attend an interview with C&ED officers to discuss your application and clarify details.

  6. Upon approval, receive your MSO license.

Additional Considerations:

  • Consider seeking professional guidance from consultants specializing in MSO licensing to ensure a smooth application process.

  • Stay updated on C&ED's regulations and licensing requirements, as they may change.

Remember, obtaining an MSO license involves meeting strict regulations. Following these steps and consulting with professionals can increase your chances of success.

If you're interested in learning more about MSOs in Hong Kong, here are some resources:


How Bestar can Help

Bestar can assist MSOs in Hong Kong in several ways throughout the MSO licensing process and with ongoing compliance:

MSO License Application:

  • Completeness and Accuracy: Bestar's familiarity with the MSO licensing requirements can ensure your application forms are filled accurately and completely, avoiding delays or rejections.

  • Business Plan and AML/CFT Policy: We can assist in drafting a comprehensive business plan outlining your money service operations and a well-documented Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) policy, which are crucial parts of your application.

Financial Expertise:

  • Dedicated Bank Account: We can help establish a dedicated bank account specifically for your MSO business, which is a mandatory requirement.

  • Financial Recordkeeping: Having a qualified accounting firm can ensure proper financial recordkeeping practices are followed from the outset. This is essential for ongoing compliance with anti-money laundering regulations.

Compliance with Regulations:

  • Staying Updated: Bestar can help you stay updated on the latest MSO regulations and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements set by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED).

  • Reporting Requirements: We can advise you on the various financial and AML reports MSOs are required to submit to the C&ED.

Additional Services:

  • Taxation: Bestar can provide guidance on tax obligations applicable to MSO businesses in Hong Kong.

  • Auditing: Depending on your business size and structure, we might also offer auditing services by our partnered auditors to ensure your financial statements comply with regulations.

By leveraging Bestar's expertise, MSOs in Hong Kong can benefit from a streamlined application process, ongoing compliance support, and potentially reduce the risk of financial penalties for non-compliance.


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