Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has launched a cross-border wealth link that would enable financial institutions in the country to tap the Greater Bay area.

The move is part of a $46.5bn cross-border Wealth Management Connect Scheme that looks to establish a wealth channel between mainland China and Hong Kong and Macau.

HKMA is currently accepting applications from financial institutions in Hong Kong to launch products ranging from bonds, mutual funds, deposit schemes, and services.

Nearly 20 Hong Kong lenders are expected to approach the regulator for the approval for their investment products, according to HKMA deputy chief executive Edmond Lau.

The first products are expected to be approved by HKMA in a month, allowing the lenders to roll out the offerings in October.

About 300 Hong Kong-based investment funds are said to be qualified to provide their financial products to nine cities in Guangdong province and Macau, where investors are entitled to invest up to CNY 1m.

The other regulators are expected to begin accepting application from next month.

HSBC, Standard Chartered, DBS, and Citi are said to be amongst the banks preparing to submit an application to HKMA.

Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Citigroup said that they will offer over 100 wealth management products in different currencies.

Citigroup is also beefing up the workforce in anticipation of the scheme. The US lender is planning to recruit an additional 1,000 employees in Hong Kong by the end of 2025 for the wealth connect.

Citi Hong Kong chief executive and consumer business manager Lawrence Lam was quoted as saying: “We are in place to deliver the best value for our clients in the region, including to offer Greater Bay Area clients a broader range of investment opportunities.”

HSBC is also planning to add some 300 to 400 new employees to its Hong Kong team.