The new measures, which were formally unveiled by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in May following a public consultation, took effect on 25 June.
Not all firms interviewed said they had noticed a change, but others said the time required to get regulatory approval for relatively simple changes to marketing literature for existing products had increased substantially, and that approval for new offshore bonds in particular seemed to have ground to a near halt.
One executive said he believed Hong Kong officials had grown significantly more cautious about offshore bonds generally because of the “perceived difficulty in drafting suitable risk warnings”.
He added that there had been discussions about limiting the funds contained in such products to Hong Kong-authorised funds only. “We wanted to make some changes to some of our products, and it has taken a year and a half,” said this executive of a UK-based life insurer which markets investment products in Hong Kong.
A spokesman for the SFC, which regulates the materials used by life companies to market products to consumers, said it did not comment on market speculation, but noted that it had not changed its disclosure-based approach.
This, he explained, was based on the idea that "all key risks and key features associated with an investment product are prominently disclosed".
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