The Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address

The Law Society has responded to the Public Consultation on the Chief Executive’s 2021 Policy Address with a Submission, where we set out our brief views on the policy initiatives to entrench Hong Kong SAR as the regional trading hub for intellectual property, promote her asset management industry, prepare for an ageing society, and addressed the mental health of the Hong Kong people amid COVID-19 pandemic.

For intellectual property, we stated that, to dovetail with the “Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035”, which was approved by the fourth session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the Hong Kong SAR Government should design and put forth her own blueprint on policies and measures to firmly entrench Hong Kong SAR as the IP trading hub in the next 5 years.

On the other hand, to take advantage of the growth prospects in the Mainland market, in particular the Greater Bay Area, we suggested that the Hong Kong SAR Government should:

(a) promote the use of trusts managed by HK trustees as part of the ecosystems of attracting family offices to Hong Kong;

(b) clarify the taxation treatment of trust structures and trust parties;

(c) ensure practice guidelines are in place for the family office services, the Wealth Management Connect, Limited Partnership Fund regimes and the Open-ended fund companies - without creating extra compliance burden or tax leakage for the users of the wealth management industry; and

(d) carefully review the regulatory regime for professional trustees.

As for the ageing society of the Hong Kong SAR, we asked that there should be a concerted campaign for the publicity of the Reverse Mortgage Programme. The campaign should be more focused and place emphasis on the sector(s) in need. It should also involve the relevant NGOs.

Also, in consequence of the fact that Hong Kong SAR is having an ageing society, we could expect rises in the numbers of applications for Guardianship Orders and/or Part II Applications under the Mental Health Ordinance. In anticipation of these increases, we appealed to the Hong Kong SAR Government to consider and to embrace initiatives on planning and education for NGOs, nursing homes and others in order that, where relevant, there could be better coordination and communication on any requisite arrangements and applications for, for example, guardianship order and/or court orders on mental health committees. We are keen also to see updates on the discussion on the Continuing Powers of Attorney or, more preferably, the proposed legislation.

Arising from COVID-19 pandemic, policy attention should be drawn to the needs of community on mental health services. In particular, the Hong Kong SAR Government should not lose sight of the needs of the more vulnerable groups. For these more vulnerable groups, the social distancing measures have taken away the usual support rendered to them.

The details of the above submission are available at:

https://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/-/media/HKLS/pub_e/news/submissions/2021091…