Hong Kong's securities regulator has announced new measures to increase accountability of the senior management of licensed corporations.

Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said firms are expected to designate fit and proper individuals as managers-in-charge of their core functions. These core functions are overall management oversight, key business line, operational control and review, risk management, finance and accounting, IT, compliance, as well as anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

SFC said that a firm should appoint at least one individual as the manager-in-charge for each of its core function, but may adopt different organisational and governance structures based on their specific requirements.

The regulator also said that those having overall management oversight of the firms and those responsible for key business lines would have to seek the regulator’s nod as responsible officers.

Under the new rule, firms would have to submit up-to-date management structure information and organisational charts to the securities watchdog from 18 April 2017.

Existing licensed corporations need to submit the required information by 17 July, SFC said.

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Moreover, managers responsible for overall management oversight and key business lines, who are not already responsible officers, need to apply for the regulator’s approval to become so by 16 October 2017.

SFC CEO Ashley Alder said: "Senior managers bear primary responsibility for the effective and efficient management of their firms, and they should be well aware of the obligations currently imposed on them as well as their potential liability if they fail to discharge their responsibilities.

"These measures will provide more clarity to the industry and strengthen our licensed firms’ governance structures so as to better align with the present responsible officer and regulated persons regime."