No need to go into complexities of tax arrangements in another jurisdiction. If asked why you're opening an account for your wife, say you want to make sure she has her own account, and you're there to help make things easier for her.
Do you even need to tell them you're transfering shares, since after all, she's going to get cash and then buy them all back?
If they find out the source of funds is from you, say that you want to give your wife money that she can call her own and has autonomy over, to make sure she knows she's ok no matter what happens. If challenged on why not joint account, repeat. And say you think it's important in a marriage the wife has assets in her own name that she has sole control over.
(Disclaimer: I am British Born Ethnic Chinese).
You have to realise that a LOT of HK. Chinese people can only process a bite of information at once, a certain department (and even our line managers) on whom which my colleagues and I greatly depend and contact almost daily need all of our information in chunks (Chinese/ English) and I don't work for a bank. You can't explain things the same way you would to any other person in your home countries. Even if you think that what you are saying to them is perfectly pared down to the bare bone essentials, there is every chance that even in Cantonese it's overloading them with information. This particular department is very surly and rude about the fact that they are essentially simpletons.
Please contrast the following examples:
" I have guests here at XYZ. Hotel who would like to join our AM. ABC. tour tomorrow please, 2 adults 1 child, can you please tell me when they will return to this hotel tomorrow night."
Department in question: (requires chunking)
"I am calling from XYZ. Hotel."
"I have three guests."
"2 adults 1 child"
"The child is XXX years old."
"They wish to join the ABC tour tomorrow."
"It's the morning ABC. tour"
"Can you please tell me what time they will return to the hotel tomorrow?"
"They don't want to get back too late."
Cue surly and rude questions about my ability to remember the return times for over 7 different hotels.
Cue phone being slammed down.
I would have got seriously upset and demanded to see her supervisor and escalated this up the chain. It's one thing to refuse you service, it's another thing to declare you a tax cheat and refuse you service. All kinds of ugly, from a position of sheer ignorance too.
My good friend you of all people know how these firms work. From a practical point of view when he shows up to the Main Building IBC team, suggest this australian OP to just knuckle under and tell the RM he needs an HSBC AU account to pay for his expenses back home. Quick, painless, no need to escalate anything. He'll be out in an hour.
The point is he shouldn't need to know the ons and outs of how to best achieve his goals - a decent company should be client focused and deliver the same endpoint regardless of how he gets in contact - local branch, main branch, phone, RM whatever.
This should hold true at every level, not just "Premier"
Personally I am in the same boat as traineeinvestor, I knuckle under and get things done. Not everything, just a lot of it. Yes, it takes to know the ons and outs of how to best achieve this. It isn't right, I agree with you, but it is practical and it works (well, at least for me).
So I opened an account at a Chinese bank this morning and I basically declined everything to keep it simple. Took about 35 minutes.
one line staff to do most of the data collection and entry and two additional verification checks from more senior staff.
I walked out with HK current and savings account plus a multi currency account.
HKID hardcopy and
address proof hardcopy and EVERYTHING ELSE was whatever i said
phone number whatever i said
email address whatever i said
income whatever i said
why open account whatever i said
how much money going in and out each month whatever i said, etc.
They offered to do things like open me up at a higher tier, open account in China etc. I declined everything said - let's just open the account today and can add on other stuff if required in the future.
Just for background, I have some AUD investments in HK now paying me small AUD dividends every month. I want to send AUD to AUD in my Australian bank account. I use instarem to transfer HKD to AUD which is great, but it cannot do AUD to AUD. So my end goal is to get this global view function from HSBC to make small AUD transfers and get the funds into my local Aus bank account without so many TT fees etc. Putting in my wifes name just another tactic for family tax/estate purposes as TheBrit pointed out. But I would just do everything with Standard Chartered if they had something like the global view function.