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The responsibilities of in-house legal division cover the drafting and advising the terms and contracts, as well as the managing of legal risks in every business unit and in organizational level. The financial institution needs to identify from where legal risks may arise and to handle claims against the institution.
Lawyers carry out comprehensive analysis of the documents which may contain risks for the institution and examine the legal environment in different jurisdictions that the institution may have potential liabilities. The potential legal exposures include breach of contract, tort, statutory or regulatory liabilities. They may seek external lawyers for advice when needed.
The core responsibility of compliance division is to ensure the financial institutions are aware of and take steps to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Their responsibilities range from identifying the requirements applicable in contracts, strategies and policies, to monitoring trading activity and potential financial crimes.
Specialists are deployed for different functions like financial crime compliance and investigations associated with money laundering, bribery and corruption. Their main roles include assessing risks and initiating corrective actions. Given the substantial interactions of both activities and regulations across the border, the team needs to update and formulate regional and local policies and identification procedures rather frequently. Active development and enhancement of compliance programs are essential.
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance came into operation in 2012 in Hong Kong. It stipulates a set of customer due diligence measures and record-keeping requirements to be undertaken by the financial institutions, in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, the standard-setting body for the global efforts in Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing.
The AML compliance team is responsible for strengthening measures to prevent and detect international money laundering and the financing of terrorism, and to ensure the institution has established AML program, reported suspicious activity, verified the identity of customers, and enhanced due diligence to certain types of accounts involving foreign persons.