Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has approved in-principle to expand the Wealth Management Connect programme to the hundreds of licensed brokerages in the city, giving more competition to banks already in the programme to vie for an estimated USD500m in annual fees. This is still subject to applications and other requirements and would need approval by mainland Chinese regulators. Wealth Connect allows cross-border investments in the Greater Bay Area, a region of 70 million people, and includes Hong Kong and mega-cities in the southern mainland such as Shenzhen and Guangzhou. The link has a current lineup of 23 approved Hong Kong banks, including HSBC and Citigroup. It attracted some 13,000 individual investors in the first month. Hong Kong Investment Fund Association welcomed the move and had asked that other improvements should also be looked at.
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