Ways to obtain SFC licenses nowadays
Usually there are two ways to apply for the SFC licenses (i) applying for a brand new SFC license and (ii) acquiring a SFC-licensed corporation. In the past few years, from the perspective of processing time by the SFC, (ii) is faster than (i). However, this has been changed since the SFC issues a circular on 2 June 2017.
Since then, our recent experience tells us that the SFC is getting more stringent on (ii), that is, acting as a substantial shareholder of a licensed corporation through acquisition. That is because the SFC may concern that the new substantial shareholder is seeking to avoid the normal assessment and vetting process involved with a new licensed corporation application. Therefore, sometimes the SFC may take a longer time to approve the application of substantial shareholder rather than a new licensed corporation application.
Accordingly it worth a thorough analysis conducted by external consultant before your company decides to apply for a new SFC license or acquire a SFC-licensed corporation.
Reference : SFC Circular
Source: Compliance Commit