委员会主席Laura Cha Shih May-lung表示：“股权众筹是金融科技发展的重要领域，不仅会为金融业带来全新发展，更是一种社会参与的全新形式。FSDC相信应当创立恰当的渠道，促进行业监管发展。”
Financial Services Development Council lists out options for encouraging equity crowdfunding. A government report on the regulatory system for equity crowdfunding has set out suggestions to adjust current regulations to allow room for the growing financial technology (fintech) sector, while at the same time protecting investors.
The Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) on Friday released a report on introducing a regulatory framework for equity crowdfunding. It examined the city’s current rules and international approaches to the subject.
Its suggestions ranged from maintaining the status quo to tweaking existing laws to licence crowdfunding platforms or allowing only professionals to invest.
“Equity crowdfunding is a major area of fintech activities, one which not only breaks new ground in financing, but is also an innovative kind of community participation,” said council chairwoman Laura Cha Shih May-lung. “The FSDC believes an appropriate avenue should be created to allow and regulate it.”
Equity crowdfunding refers to allowing the public to buy shares issued by a start-up to help establish a business.
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending fall under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO) and the Companies (Winding Up and Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance.
Under the SFO, there are restrictions on inviting the public to purchase shares or debt instruments or to join collective investment schemes.
Fintech start-ups have seen growing government support in Hong Kong, but critics say this has not transferred into favourable regulations for the sector as have been implemented overseas.
In November, new regulations for crowdfunding were announced in the United States allowing companies to raise up to US$1 million in a 12-month period.
The US regulations also set caps on the amount individuals can invest based on their income. Investors are limited to investing a maximum of US$100,000 through crowdfunding in a 12-month period.
The report warned that changes to existing SFO regulations to accommodate crowdfunding could be slow, so it also proposed ideas that could be carried out under the existing legal framework.
These include adjusting the requirements on providing investors with a prospectus by limiting the information required to the equivalent of what would be available at a public company’s annual general meeting.
In line with US regulations, the report mooted the option of placing caps on how much companies can raise as well as the amount individuals can invest.