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Foreign Exchange Notices

Foreign Exchange Notices

Foreign Exchange Notices

INTRODUCTION

Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”) issued new Foreign Exchange Notices (“FE Notices”) on 15 April 2021 and they take effect from the same date.

Refinements of the previous Foreign Exchange Policy are aimed at improving business efficiency and providing flexibility to individuals and corporates to better manage their foreign exchange risk exposures. It remains the responsibility of customers to ensure that they comply with FE Notices, and as such we are pleased to provide the following reminder to help with your understanding of the said rules.

 

ARE YOU A RESIDENT OR NON-RESIDENT?

The applicable rules within the FE Notices differ between Residents and Non-Residents. BNM’s definitions of Residents and Non-Residents are set out below and we included a few examples to assist with your understanding:

 

 

Residents

Non-Residents

Individuals

  • a citizen of Malaysia, excluding a citizen who has obtained permanent resident status in a country or a territory outside Malaysia and is residing outside Malaysia;

    E.g.: A Malaysian blue MyKad holder who is staying in Malaysia is considered a Resident.

  • a non-citizen of Malaysia who has obtained permanent resident status in Malaysia and is ordinarily residing in Malaysia;

    E.g.: A British citizen who is a permanent resident of Malaysia and is staying in Malaysia is considered a Resident.  
  • any person other than a resident

  • a Malaysian citizen who has obtained permanent resident status of a country or territory outside Malaysia and is residing outside Malaysia

    E.g.: A Malaysian blue MyKad holder who is a permanent resident of Singapore and is staying in Singapore is considered a Non-Resident.

 

Entities

  • a body corporate incorporated or established, or registered with or approved by any authority, in Malaysia;

    E.g.: A private limited company registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (i.e. a Sdn. Bhd.).

  • an unincorporated body registered with or approved by any authority in Malaysia; or

    E.g.: A co-operative society, a club or an association.

  • the Government of Malaysia or any State Government of Malaysia’s States
  • any person other than a resident

    E.g.: A company incorporated in Hong Kong is considered as a Non-Resident.

  • an overseas branch, a subsidiary, regional office, sales office or representative office of a resident company

  • Embassies, Consulates, High Commissions, supranational or international organizations
     

For the avoidance of doubt, this includes Malaysian Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions

 

1. Foreign Currency Accounts

a) Resident Entities and Individuals allowed to open Foreign Currency Accounts with licensed onshore banks (“LOBs”)

 

The two (2) types of Foreign Currency Accounts (FCA) are Investment Foreign Currency Account and Trade Foreign Currency Account. The operation, sources and uses of funds to and from these accounts shall be governed in accordance to the relevant notices issued by BNM and summarized below

 

i. Investment Foreign Currency Account (“Investment FCA”)

 

Permitted Sources into Investment FCA

Permitted Uses from Investment FCA

 

1. Any foreign currency funds other than -

· Proceeds of the export of goods; and

· Settlement of domestic trade with another Resident within the Global Supply Chain

 

1. For investments in Foreign Currency Assets

 

2. Any amount for same-party transfers into a Trade or Investment FCA

2. Transfer from a Trade FCA up to the approved threshold in accordance to Notice 3

 

 

3. Any amount for same-party transfers from an Investment FCA

 

 

 

Click for Factsheet

 

ii. Trade Foreign Currency Account (“Trade FCA”)

 

Permitted Sources into Trade FCA

Permitted Uses from Trade FCA

 

1. Foreign currency proceeds from the export of goods

1. Settlement of domestic trade with another Resident within the Global Supply Chain

2. Settlement of domestic trade with another Resident within the Global Supply Chain

 

2. Transfer into an Investment FCA

 

3. Any amount for same-party transfers from a Trade FCA or Investment FCA

 

3. Any amount for same-party transfers into a Trade FCA

 

4. Other foreign currency funds

 

 

 

b)  In the case of a Resident Individual, the FCA may be maintained:

 

i. individually; or

ii. jointly with another Resident Individual; or

iii. jointly with a Non-Resident Individual who is his Immediate Family Member

 

2. Investing in Foreign Currency Assets

a) A Resident without Domestic Ringgit Borrowing is allowed to invest any amount in Foreign Currency (FC) Assets onshore and abroad.

 

b) A Resident with Domestic Ringgit Borrowing is allowed to invest:

 

· Up to RM1 million equivalent in aggregate per calendar year on individual basis; or

· Up to RM50 million equivalent per calendar year in aggregate on corporate group basis (include Resident entities within the group with parent-subsidiary relationship), sourced from conversion of ringgit and Trade FCA.

 

a) A licensed onshore bank, a licensed insurer or licensed takaful operator is free to invest abroad for its own account.

 

b) A Resident licensed unit trust companies, entity offering collective investment schemes including closed-end funds, fund managers or licensed insurer is free to invest abroad on behalf of their Resident or Non-Resident client as follows:

 

· Up to 100% of Net Asset Value (NAV) or total funds belonging to Resident client without Domestic Ringgit Borrowing and Non-Resident client in conventional and Shariah compliant assets; or

· Up to 50% of NAV or total funds belonging to a Resident client with Domestic Ringgit Borrowing in conventional assets.

 

c) A licensed takaful operator is free to undertake investment abroad up to 100% of the NAV of ringgit or FC-denominated investment-linked funds belonging to their clients.

 

 

Application Submission

 

A Resident entity or individual must apply before undertaking transactions other than stated above through the BNM’s online submission portal of BNM website via this link www.iteps.bnm.gov.my

3. Foreign Currency Borrowing in Malaysia and Abroad

a)  by Resident entity

 

A Resident entity is free to borrow any amount in foreign currency (FC) from:

 

· Licensed onshore banks

· Resident or Non-Resident entities within its group of entities

· Resident or Non-Resident direct shareholders

·   Another Resident through issuance of FC debt securities

 

A Resident entity may borrow in FC up to a prudential limit of RM100 million equivalent in aggregate from Non-Resident financial institutions and other unrelated Non-Residents, including through issuance of securities or Islamic securities denominated in FC.

 

b) by Resident individual

A Resident individual, sole proprietor or general partnership may obtain up to a limit of RM10 million equivalent in aggregate from licensed onshore banks and Non-Residents other than immediate family members.

 

 

Application Submission

A Resident entity or Resident individual must apply before undertaking transactions other than stated above through BNM’s online submission portal via this link www.iteps.bnm.gov.my

4. Ringgit borrowing from Non-Resident

a)  by Resident entity

 

Resident entity is free to borrow:

 

· Any amount of ringgit to finance real sector activities in Malaysia from either Non-Resident entity within its group or Non-Resident direct shareholder;

· Up to RM1 million in aggregate from any other Non-Resident, other than a Non-Resident financial institution, for use in Malaysia; and

· Any amount through issuance of tradable securities or redeemable preference shares (RPS) denominated in ringgit to Non-Resident for use in Malaysia.

 

b) by Resident individual

 

Resident individual is free to borrow:

 

· Any amount of ringgit from Non-Resident immediate family member; and

· Up to RM1 million in aggregate from other Non-Resident, other than a Non-Resident financial institution for use in Malaysia.

 

 

Application Submission

 

A Resident must apply before undertaking transactions other than stated above through BNM’s online submission portal via this link www.iteps.bnm.gov.my

 

5. Payment in foreign currency

a)  Payment in foreign currency between Residents

 

A Resident is free to pay or receive foreign currency (FC) to or from another Resident for the following:

 

· Any purpose between immediate family members;

· Education, employment or migration outside Malaysia;

· A transaction between the Resident and a licensed onshore bank, a licensed international takaful operator or an international currency business unit of a licensed takaful operator, in the conduct of the latter’s business involving FC;

· Settlement of –

  • a FC-denominated derivative, excluding exchange rate derivatives, transacted on a Specified Exchange under CMSA between the Resident and a Resident futures broker;
  • a commodity murabahah transaction between Residents undertaken through a Resident commodity or a Non-Resident trading service provider; or
  • a domestic trade in goods or services between a Resident exporter and Resident entities involved in Global Supply Chain operations in Malaysia, subject to specified conditions.

 

b) Payment in foreign currency between Resident and Non-Resident

 

A Resident is free to make or receive FC payment to or from Non-Resident for any purpose, except for –

· FC-denominated derivatives offered by the Resident unless it is approved by BNM or allowed under Part B of Notice 5;

· ringgit derivatives unless it is approved by BNM or allowed under Part B of Notice 5; or

· exchange rate derivatives offered by a Non-Resident unless it is approved by BNM or allowed under Notice 1

 

1. Opening and maintaining of account

a) Non-Residents are allowed to open and maintain:

 

i. FCAs with LOBs individually or jointly with

  • another Non-Resident; or
  • a Resident Individual who is his Immediate Family Member; and

ii. an External Account, which is an account in Ringgit opened with any Financial Institution in Malaysia. Click for Factsheet.

 

NOTE:

FCAs opened by Non-Residents, are not required to be designated unlike for Residents (see Section 1 - Foreign Currency Accounts under Rules Applicable to Residents).

 

a) Funds in these accounts are free to be remitted abroad in foreign currency. The conversion of Ringgit into foreign currency however must be undertaken in accordance with Part B of Notice 1.

 

b) Any payment, receipt or transfer into or from an External Account is subjected a daily limit of RM10,000 per account per instruments (including cash deposit. For cheque, the limit applies on per cheque basis) or per channel for deposit or withdrawal respectively.

 

The above limits shall not apply to –

i. A Consulate;

ii. A High Commission;

iii. An Embassy;

iv. An individual participating in the Malaysia My Second Home Programme; or

v. An individual who is working or studying in Malaysia including the individual’s spouse, child or parent who is staying in Malaysia.

 

There is no limit for any cash withdrawal over-the-counter from an External Account.

 

2. Payment in Ringgit

A Non-Resident is allowed to make or receive payment in ringgit in Malaysia, to or from a Resident or a Non-Resident, for the purposes as follows:

 

Purpose of Use and Source of Funds

Between Non-Resident and Resident

Between
Non-Residents

Settlement of a ringgit asset including any income and profit due from the ringgit asset

Settlement of trade in goods

Settlement of services, in any manner

Income earned or expense incurred, in Malaysia

Settlement of a commodity murabahah transaction undertaken through a commodity trading service provider

Settlement of reinsurance for domestic insurance business or retakaful for domestic takaful business between a Resident and a person licensed to undertake Labuan insurance or takaful business

 

Settlement of court judgement where the transaction under litigation is undertaken in compliance with the FE Notices

 

For any purpose between immediate family members

 

Payments on behalf of Non-Resident clients using funds in the external account is allowed as follows:

 

By

For the purpose of

Non-Resident financial institution

Settlement of international trade of goods or services with a Resident.

Non-Resident intermediary or Non-Resident custodian or trust bank

Settlement of ringgit assets.

 

Payments or receipts from or into an External Account is allowed provided that the Non-Resident is able to produce documentary evidence that the purpose of transaction complies with relevant FE Notice

 

3. Investing in Malaysia

A Non-Resident investor is free to –

 

a) undertake any type of investment in ringgit asset or Foreign Currency (FC) Asset in Malaysia (direct or portfolio investment) without any restriction;

b) open a ringgit account or FC account (FCA) with a licensed onshore bank. Funds are free to be remitted into and out of such accounts, subject to normal due diligence process by the licensed onshore bank; and

c) repatriate divestment proceeds, profits, dividends or any income arising from the investments in Malaysia. Repatriation shall be made in FC.

 

A Non-Resident investor also has the flexibility to hedge FX exposure arising from their investments in Malaysia either via a licensed onshore bank or an Appointed Overseas Office (AOO).

4. Buying or selling of currency

a) Buying or selling of foreign currency against Ringgit

 

Non-Residents are free to buy or sell foreign currency against Ringgit with LOBs (excluding International Islamic Banks) on spot basis.


Transactions with AOO and transactions on Forward Basis are subject to the conditions set out in Part B of Notice 1

 

b) Buying or selling of foreign currency against another foreign currency

 

Non-Residents in Malaysia are free to buy or sell foreign currency against another foreign currency on Spot Basis or Forward Basis with a LOB.

 

Appointed overseas office/AOO

a) a Holding/Parent Entity, subsidiary Entity, sister Entity, head office or branch outside Malaysia within a LOB’s banking group and its overseas office outside the LOB’s banking group approved by BNM.

Borrowing

a) any utilised or unutilised credit facility or financing facility;

b) any utilised or unutilised trade financing facility, including but not limited to, trade guarantee or guarantee for payment of goods;

c)  redeemable preference share or Islamic redeemable preference share; or.

d) Corporate Bond or Sukuk.

 

Notwithstanding the above, the following are excluded from the

definition of Borrowing —

 

i. a trade credit term extended by a supplier for any goods or services;

ii. a credit limit that a LOB apportions for its client to undertake a Forward Basis transaction, excluding a transaction that involves—

A. exchanging or swapping of Ringgit or foreign currency debt for another foreign currency debt; or

B. exchanging of foreign currency debt for a Ringgit debt;

 

iii. a Financial Guarantee or Non-Financial Guarantee;

iv. an operational leasing facility;

v. a factoring facility without recourse;

vi. a credit card or charge card facility obtained by an Individual from a Resident and used for payment for retail goods or services only; or

vii. a credit facility or financing facility obtained by a Resident Individual from a Resident to purchase one (1) Residential property and one (1) vehicle.

 

Note: For clarity purposes, the transactions in paragraphs (ii)(A) and (ii)(B) shall be considered as Borrowing

 

Direct Investment Abroad or DIA

a) An investment in Foreign Currency Asset Offshore by a Resident resulting in at least 10% equity ownership or control of a Non-Resident Entity outside Malaysia;

b) An inter-company lending by a Resident Entity to a Non-Resident Entity outside Malaysia within the Resident Entity’s Group;

c)  A capital expenditure by a Resident investor in an unincorporated Entity outside Malaysia or a project outside Malaysia by an agreement with no establishment created, where the Resident investor —

i. Contributes capital of at least 10% of the cost of the project;

ii. Is entitled to at least 10% of profits from the unincorporated Entity or project; or

iii. Have management control of the unincorporated Entity or project.

Direct Shareholder

A shareholder with at least 10% effective shareholding in a Resident Entity.

Domestic Ringgit Borrowing

a) Any Borrowing in Ringgit obtained by a Resident from another Resident; or

b) Any obligation considered or deemed as Domestic Ringgit Borrowing under any of the FE Notices.
Note: For purposes of determining the Domestic Ringgit Borrowing status of a Resident Entity—

c) The Resident Entity is deemed to have a Domestic Ringgit Borrowing when another Resident Entity with Parent Subsidiary Relationship has a Domestic Ringgit Borrowing; and

d) The following shall not be considered as Domestic Ringgit Borrowing —

i. A Borrowing obtained from another Resident Entity with Parent-Subsidiary Relationship;

ii. A Borrowing obtained from its Direct Shareholder; or

iii. Any facility including credit facility or financing facility which is used for Sundry Expenses or Employees’ Expenses only.

 

“Sundry Expenses” refers to small and infrequent expenses for office supplies (e.g. stationaries), ancillary services (e.g. software and online subscription) and other minor expenses to facilitate daily business operation.


“Employees' Expenses” refers to business-related expenses which may include, but not limited to, travel (e.g. lodging and transportation), entertainment, health, insurance, takaful and other employees' expenses, excluding investment.


“Borrowing” refers to the definition of “Borrowing” above.

Entity

a) Any corporation, statutory body, local authority, society, cooperative, limited liability partnership and any other body, organization, association or group of persons, whether corporate or unincorporated, in or outside Malaysia; or

b) The Federal Government, any State Government or any other government.

External Account

An account in Ringgit opened with any Financial Institution in Malaysia —

 

a) By a Non-Resident—

i. Individually;

ii. Jointly with another Non-Resident; or

iii. Jointly with a Resident, excluding

· For a joint venture in Malaysia;

· A husband and wife; or

b) By a person who operates the account in trust for or on behalf of a Non-Resident. The designation of the account shall be determined based on the residency of the beneficiary.

Financial Guarantee

A guarantee or any form of undertaking to secure the repayment of a Borrowing.

Firm Commitment

A commitment arising from -

 

a) An obligation to make or a right to receive, any payment under any agreement or arrangement;

b) A holding of an asset including property; or

c) A holding of a debt, obligation or liability.

Group

an Entity's –

 

a) Ultimate or direct Holding/Parent Entity;

b) Head office;

c) Branch;

d) Subsidiary company where the  Entity owns more than 50% of ordinary shares in the subsidiary company;

e) Associate company where the Resident Entity owns between 10% and 50% of ordinary shares in the associate Entity; or

f) Sister comapany where the Resident Entity and its sister Entity have a common shareholder with minimum of 10% of ordinary shares in both Entities.

Immediate Family Member

A legal spouse, parent, legitimate child (including legally adopted) or legitimate sibling of an Individual.

Foreign Currency Asset Offshore (previously referred to as “Investment Abroad”)

a) a financial asset in Malaysia swapped for a financial asset in a Labuan Entity or outside Malaysia;

b) Foreign Currency Borrowing given to a Non-Resident;

c)  orking capital arising from the set-up of any business arrangement outside Malaysia (including a joint venture project where no Entity is created or established);

d) deposit in a Foreign Currency Account maintained with a Labuan Entity or outside Malaysia excluding reasonable amount of deposit for education, employment or migration outside Malaysia; or

e) Foreign Currency-denominated—

i. asset (tangible or intangible) offered by a Non-Resident or any person whose residency  cannot be determined;

ii. (asset (tangible or intangible) in or maintained with a Labuan Entity, or outside Malaysia;

iii. Financial Instrument or Islamic Financial Instrument (excluding Exchange Rate Derivatives) without Firm Commitment offered on a Specified Exchange under the CMSA outside Malaysia undertaken by a Resident through a Resident futures broker; or

iv. Financial Instrument or Islamic Financial Instrument (excluding Exchange Rate Derivatives) without Firm Commitment issued or offered by a Non-Resident.

Foreign Currency Asset Onshore

a) Foreign Currency-denominated securities or Islamic securities offered in Malaysia by a Resident as approved in writing by Bank Negara Malaysia;

b) Foreign Currency-denominated Financial Instrument or Islamic Financial Instrument offered in Malaysia by a Resident as approved in writing by Bank Negara Malaysia excluding a derivative transaction entered with Firm Commitment;

c) Deposit in Investment FCA with a LOB or an approved Financial Institution as specified in Notice 3; or

d) Any instrument offered by a LOB with foreign currency delivery at maturity, such as dual-currency investment.

Labuan entity

an Entity which is created, incorporated, licensed or registered

under any of the following legislation:

a) Labuan Companies Act 1990 [Act 441];

b) Labuan Trust Act 1996 [Act 554];

c) Labuan Financial Services and Securities Act 2010 [Act 704];

d) Labuan Islamic Financial Services and Securities Act 2010 [Act 705];

e) Labuan Foundations Act 2010 [Act 706]; or

f) Labuan Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2010 [Act 707].

Licensed onshore bank or LOB

a) a licensed bank or a licensed investment bank under the FSA; and

b) a licensed Islamic bank under the IFSA.

Non-Resident

a) any person other than a Resident;

b) an overseas branch, a subsidiary, regional office, sales office or representative office of a Resident company;

c) Embassies, Consulates, High Commissions, supranational or international organizations; or

d) a Malaysian citizen who has obtained permanent Resident status of a country or territory outside Malaysia and is residing outside Malaysia.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, this includes Malaysian Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions.

Parent-Subsidiary Relationship

a relationship between a Resident Entity and its direct or indirect —

a) Resident Holding/Parent Entity; or

b) Resident subsidiary Entity.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, this includes a relationship between a Resident subsidiary Entity of a Non-Resident Holding/Parent Entity with the Resident subsidiary Entity’s ultimate Resident Holding/Parent Entity.

Real Sector Activity

an activity relating to—

 

a) construction or purchase of a Residential or commercial property, excluding purchase of land which will not be utilized for construction or production of goods or services; or

b) production or consumption of goods or services, excluding— –

 

i. Activity in financial services sector, whether Islamic or otherwise;

ii. Purchase of securities or Islamic securities; or

iii. Purchase of Financial Instrument or Islamic Financial Instrument.

Resident

a) A citizen of Malaysia, excluding a citizen who has obtained permanent Resident status in a country or a territory outside Malaysia and is residing outside Malaysia;

b) A Non-citizen of Malaysia who has obtained permanent Resident status in Malaysia and is ordinarily residing in Malaysia;

c) A body corporate incorporated or established, or registered with or approved by any authority, in Malaysia;

d) An unincorporated body registered with or approved by any authority in Malaysia; or

e) The Government or any State Government.


For joint accounts where the relationship is a husband and wife relationship only and one of the joint account holders is a Resident while the other is a Non-Resident, this joint account will be a Resident account. Otherwise, the joint account will be treated as a Non-Resident account where one of the joint account holders is a Non-Resident.

Ringgit Asset

a) Ringgit-denominated security or Islamic security issued in Malaysia by a Resident;

b) Ringgit-denominated security or Islamic security issued by a Non-Resident as approved by the Bank Negara Malaysia;

c) Ringgit-denominated Financial Instrument or Islamic Financial Instrument as approved by BNM;

d) Ringgit deposits with a Financial Institution in Malaysia; including deposit-like instrument with only Ringgit delivery at the inception and maturity; or

e) Any property in Malaysia.

Global Supply Chain

a business activity where a Resident imports goods or services to support production or distribution of goods or services by a Resident exporter for the Resident exporter’s export activities. This includes domestic trade in goods or services between the Resident importer and the Resident exporter undertaken through a Resident intermediate Entity.

 

WHAT DO WE NEED FROM YOU?

 

Please take note of the following:

(a) declare your residency status when you open an account with us and keep us updated when there are changes;

(b) ensure all activities performed for accounts maintained with us comply with the prevailing FE Notices at all times; and

(c) provide us with documentary evidence as part of our due diligence process to ensure compliance with FE Notices. 

 

You are therefore advised to read and understand the FE Notices (accessible here).

 

Where approval or registration is required for any proposed transaction, you may submit your application on BNM’s website (accessible here). We may request for a copy of the relevant approval or registration from you before performing the transactions.

 

Please be reminded that you must not utilize the Bank’s financial products or services for prohibited/illegal transaction, such as (but not limited to) illegal foreign exchange trading and illegal investment schemes. You may refer to BNM’s website at https://www.bnm.gov.my/financial-consumer-alert for further information.

 

For enquiries, connect with us online or drop by your nearest Hong Leong Bank Branch.