Our care for vulnerable customers

Tips for vulnerable customers

Protecting our customers' interests is always one of our top concerns. That is why we exercise particular care when needed for the vulnerable ones. With similar concern, banks are rolling out the “Investor Protection Assessment” according to the relevant guidance from regulatory organization to let customers know if they are “vulnerable customers” who need to receive additional investment protection measures. 

What is a vulnerable customer?

As specified in related guidelines issued by the HKMA, if an investor has a lower ability to understand the risks and accept the potential losses of investments, s/he may be considered to be vulnerable. An example of “vulnerable customer” includes an investor with disability(ies) affecting his/her investment decisions (e.g. visually impaired). Other examples include those fulfilling of one or more of the following criteria, coupled with the lack of investment experience:

  • Above 65 years old
  • Level of education below Secondary 3
  • With limited financial capacity

You may check the remarks for more details of the criteria[1].


You will get to know if you are a vulnerable customer by taking the Investor Protection Assessment.

Additional investment protection measures for the vulnerable ones

  • You may ask a trusted friend, family member or bank staff to witness an investment transaction done through a sales staff (at a branch or by phone)
  • The course of any investment transactions done through a sales staff (at a branch or by phone) will be audio-recorded
  • You will receive investment protection that prevents you from investing in individual products which are categorised as “not suitable for vulnerable customer”

When should I take the Investor Protection Assessment?

The Investor Protection Assessment of the Bank is set up according to the guideline issued by the HKMA. Every investor should complete the assessment and keep a valid record before being eligible for most of the investment transactions. The record will be valid for 1 year. When it expires, or if there are any changes due to your individual situation when the record is still valid, you need to take the assessment again to proceed with your investment.


Furthermore, as the online platform may not be able to consider all of your relevant personal circumstances when assessing whether you may be a vulnerable customer, you are encouraged to visit our branches for a more comprehensive assessment. If you have any questions or are in doubt when completing the assessment online, you can also consider completing it at the branch.


Regardless of age, wealth or education level, interests of all investors should be protected. When you conduct an investment at our branch, by phone or on online platform in the future, be sure to take the Investor Protection Assessment to see whether you need additional care.

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  1. Below are some common examples of personal circumstances that may suggest that you are a vulnerable customer.
    • Health issues (e.g. visually impaired, hearing impaired, speech impaired, long-term serious illness)
    • Significant change in life circumstances (e.g. recently received a large windfall, recently bereaved)
    • Limited ability (e.g. limited local language ability, illiterate, mentally incapacitated, cognitive impairment (dementia), persons with intellectual disabilities)
  2. Investment involves risks.