This edition of your journal ushers in a new year, but it also marks a number of other new beginnings. This is the first edition of CGj, for example, to be online only. As the interview with our Chief Executive, Ellie Pang FCG HKFCG(PE), made clear in last month’s CGj, this marks a major step forward in our Institute’s digital transition.
This edition also marks a new beginning in terms of our new Council and Secretariat lineup, as announced at the Council meeting following the Annual General Meeting held on 14 December 2023. I am honoured to have been elected as your new President and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Ernest Lee FCG HKFCG(PE), for his exemplary stewardship over the past two years. I would also like to thank Kenneth Jiang FCG HKFCG(PE) for his 19 years as Chief Representative of the Institute’s Beijing Representative Office (BRO). Kenneth retired at the end of 2023 and Dr Gao Wei FCG HKFCG(PE), former Vice-President, took up the baton as our Chief Representative at BRO on 1 January 2024.
Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved in the Institute’s activities over the past decades, members of our profession now have far better-recognised roles in establishing and maintaining good governance frameworks and practices. Nevertheless, there is a lot of work ahead of us and I am very glad to see that our new Council includes several younger members of the profession. Having younger perspectives on our Institute’s governing body will be all the more critical in the emerging environment where learning agility and openness to change are key factors for success.
I look forward to working with you all to ensure that our profession rises to the challenges ahead. One such challenge, particularly for members working for trust or company services providers (TCSPs), is keeping up with the rapidly evolving anti–money laundering and counter–financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) environment. Many of our Institute’s ECPD events have addressed, and continue to address, AML/CFT issues. The highest profile of these events is our annual AML/CFT conference and our cover stories in this edition of CGj review the latest of these forums.
Our 4th AML/CFT Conference, held on 24 November 2023, covered not only the relevant regulatory compliance issues, but also how AML/CFT risks are changing as a result of technological innovation. In particular, virtual asset transactions have expanded the opportunities for money launderers to mask the identify of the parties involved. Developments in Regtech, however, have also expanded the tools available to regulators and governance professionals to ensure transparency and accountability.
Looking ahead, AML/CFT compliance will continue to be a highly complex area of practice for our members and we will continue to provide support in terms of our continuing professional development and thought leadership services. We issued our first comprehensive set of AML/CFT guidelines in 2008. This was followed by the creation of Hong Kong’s first initiative in self-regulation for the TCSP sector – our AML/CFT Charter launched in 2016 – and we continue to contribute to AML/CFT best practices for the TCSP sector.
This year will see the launch of an even more ambitious initiative designed to build our members’ knowledge and expertise in this space. We plan to launch our AML/CFT Certification Course, which, like the ESG Certification Course launched last year, will provide both training and certification to demonstrate to employers and regulators the professionalism of practitioners who successfully complete the course.
2023 was full of surprises, not all of them welcome, and the year ahead will undoubtedly bring challenges. It will also bring many opportunities, however, and I am confident that we can draw on our community of expertise, our professional network and – most especially – the dedication and enthusiasm of our members to achieve our mission of promoting better governance for a better future.