UPDATE 1-Bank of China unit fined $1.3 million in Hong Kong

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HONG KONG, March 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s securities regulator has fined a unit of Bank of China HK$10 million ($1.3 million) for failing to follow guidelines on the sale of investment products.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said that Bank of China International Securities (BOCIS) failed to properly assess some of its clients’ risk-tolerance levels or to ensure that its recommendations to clients were suitable.

Rules governing the sale of investment products, and companies’ compliance with the regulations, are in the spotlight in Asia after Australia’s year-long inquiry into wrongdoing in the financial sector made a number of recommendations about how its products should be marketed to consumers.

“BOCIS has made every effort to co-operate with the SFC during its investigation and has given serious attention to the points raised by the SFC by taking appropriate measures to enhance its internal controls and procedures,” a Bank of China International spokeswoman said.

Bank of China International Securities is fully owned by Bank of China International, the wholly owned investment banking subsidiary of China’s fourth-largest lender Bank of China. ($1 = 7.8499 Hong Kong dollars) (Reporting by Alun John Editing by Shreejay Sinha and David Goodman)