The Hong Kong Occupational Retirement Scheme Ordinance

The Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance (“ORSO”) came into force on 15 October 1993, and is the governing legislation for the regulation of voluntary occupational retirement schemes operating in or from Hong Kong.

The ORSO aims to regulate the retirement schemes industry through a registration system to ensure that all voluntarily established ORSO schemes are properly administered and funded, and to provide greater certainty that retirement scheme benefits promised to employees will be paid when they fall due.

The ORSO applies to all ORSO schemes operated in and from Hong Kong. It also covers offshore schemes (i.e. schemes whose domicile is outside Hong Kong, where the scheme or trust is governed by a foreign system of law). HK ORSO can be set up by any individual, in any occupation, living in any part of the world. All ORSO schemes must be registered or granted an exemption certificate by the Registrar in accordance with ORSO.

Legal recognition

Occupational Retirement Schemes are established under Hong Kong’s Occupational Retirement Schemes Ordinance, Cap 426 (ORSOO). Each scheme is Registered with the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA).

ORSO are tax-recognised by the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department under the Inland Revenue Ordinance, Cap 112, and are also recognised to be genuine Occupational Retirement Schemes by taxing authorities globally, including the UK’s HMRC and the US’ Internal Revenue Service.

Benefits of setting up a Hong Kong ORSO

ORSO may be issued in the form of a trust or a corporation to suit either common or civil law countries. Members of the pension scheme can benefit from the following:

  • A generous Hong Kong ORSO tax regime and favorable use of double taxation agreements
  • Deferred Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax
  • It can accept most unlimited transferred pensions and/or registered plans
  • There is no obligation to buy an annuity on retirement
  • The ORSO allows individuals to establish a retirement pension plan that provides tax advantages
  • Eliminates inheritance tax between generations; and gives members the choice of a virtually. unlimited, diversified class and location of investments.
  • Retire anytime you choose, at the minimum age.
  • Client confidentiality under FATCA and CRS most ORSO accounts are “excluded account” up to $7.8m.
  • Freedom of investment, category, location and currency choice.
  • Asset protection under Hong Kong Law neither a spouse nor anyone else may seize trust assets.
  • The Trust can hold cash, property, land, mutual funds, stocks options, bullion, private shares, hedge funds, art collections, vehicles, jewelry, fine wines, bonds and more.
  • Set your own reasonable retirement date

Why Hong Kong?

Hong Kong effectively offers these benefits alongside low taxes; no estate duty; no wealth tax; no capital gains tax; no withholding tax; no VAT.

Hong Kong is not a tax haven and it is not included in “black lists” as are many tax havens which often attempt to hide assets through complicated rule bending procedures. Blacklisted jurisdictions are increasingly under attack by revenue authorities and are losing their importance in pension planning management.

While the effect of efficient pension planning is much lower taxes on your estate, this is not a scheme developed for tax avoidance. Instead, the Hong Kong pension regime will maximize the return on your wealth by managing the pension assets in order to avoid double-taxation regulations, overlapping taxes, and unnecessary taxation fees through poor future planning.

  • Hong Kong is a low tax environment rather than a “tax haven”
  • Retirement programs in Hong Kong are fully OECD compliant being regulated and supervised by Government regulators;
  • No regulatory investment restrictions in Hong Kong;
  • No tax on the ORSO or its members in Hong Kong;
  • Potentially tax-free distributions in 28 countries;
  • Eliminates the requirement for annuity or a half pension for the surviving spouse;
  • An ORSO can survive your demise and so act as a multigenerational asset protect structure;
  • No deemed disposition on death or estate tax in Hong Kong.

Tax treaties

Currently, Hong Kong has entered into 37 tax treaties with different jurisdictions as shown in the following table.

Austria (1)

Japan (1)

Portugal (1)

Belarus (2)

Jersey (1)

Qatar (1)

Belgium (1)

Korea (1)

Romania (1)

Brunei (1)

Kuwait (1)

Russia (1)

Canada (1)

Latvia (2)

South Africa (1)

China, the People’s Republic of (1)

Liechtenstein (1)

Spain (1)

Czech Republic (1)

Luxembourg (1)

Switzerland (1)

France (1)

Malaysia (1)

Thailand (1)

Guernsey (1)

Malta (1)

United Arab Emirates (1)

Hungary (1)

Mexico (1)

United Kingdom (1)

Indonesia (1)

Netherlands (1)

Vietnam (1)

Ireland (1)

New Zealand (1)

Italy (1)

Pakistan (2)


  1. Ratified and effective.
  2. Not yet ratified.

For more information, please contact Osiris Corporate Solutions (Mauritius) Limited through:

Peter Todd or Daniel Romburgh