Hong Kong Regulator Wants to Beef Up Its Staff Covering Virtual Assets

Yiu Yu Hoi

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Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) wants to expand the team handling virtual assets as the city seeks to become a crypto hub.

In its budget report for 2023-24 to the jurisdiction's Legislative Council, the regulator asked for four more posts to be added to headcount in response to more operators expressing interest in operating trading platforms and managing virtual asset funds.

Fund managers wanting to manage more than 10% gross asset value in virtual assets need to apply to the SFC for approval.

Existing service providers wanting to be licensed under the incoming virtual assets service provider (VASP) regime must apply for a license before March 1. They will enjoy a transitional period of 12 months.

"The transitional period is quite short considering there will be quite a few applications," a legal professional who works on licensing applications said. "Approving a whole exchange is quite a lot of work."

Two peoples who work closely with the SFC said that the regulator is short on staff. They said that currently approximately five to seven people work on virtual assets, but officers can be rotated to other functions.

CoinDesk has reached out to the SFC for comment.