The deposit agreement must be in a form acceptable to the Exchange. It must be executed by the depositary and the issuer and must provide that the depositary holds on trust (or equivalent arrangements) for the sole benefit of the holders of depositary receipts the securities to which the depositary receipt certificates relate, all rights relating to the securities and all money and benefits that it may receive in respect of them, subject only to payment of the remuneration and proper expenses of the depositary. It must also provide, without limitation, for:
(a) The appointment of the depositary by the issuer with authorisation to act on behalf of the issuer in accordance with the deposit agreement.
(b) The status of depositary receipts as instruments representing ownership interests in shares of an issuer that have been deposited with the depositary.
(c) The status of registered holders of depositary receipts as the legal owners of those depositary receipts, without prejudice to the issuer's right under the Securities and Futures Ordinance to investigate the ownership of its shares.
(d) The role of the depositary to issue depositary receipts as agent of the issuer, and to arrange for the deposit of the shares which the depositary receipts represent.
(e) The duties of the depositary, including the duty to keep in Hong Kong and make available for inspection a register of holders of depositary receipts and the transfers of the depositary receipts and the duty to keep a record of the deposits of shares which the depositary receipts represent, the issue of depositary receipts, the cancellation of depositary receipts and the withdrawal of shares.
(f) The role and duties of the custodian appointed by the depositary to hold the deposited shares for the account of the depositary on behalf of the holders of the depositary receipts, segregated from all other property of the custodian.
(g) The mechanism for the issue and registration of depositary receipts by the depositary upon receipt of shares in the issuer and the form of the depositary receipt.
(h) The right of depositary receipt holders to transfer their depositary receipts and the mechanism for so doing.
(i) The right of depositary receipt holders to surrender depositary receipts to be cancelled in exchange for the delivery of the shares which the depositary receipts represent, subject to payment of any applicable charges and taxes and any legal or regulatory restrictions.
(j) The right of depositary receipt holders to receive distributions made on the shares which the depositary receipts represent except in the circumstances (if any) expressly provided for in the deposit agreement. The deposit agreement should separately address the rights and procedures applying to cash distributions, distributions of shares, rights issues or any other distribution accruing to the shares which the depositary receipts represent, in each case adopting the underlying principle that holders of depositary receipts are to be treated as having generally equivalent rights to holders of the shares which the depositary receipts represent. Any conversion of dividends paid in a foreign currency must occur at the market rates prevailing at the time of conversion.
(k) The right of depositary receipt holders to exercise the voting rights attached to the shares represented by the depositary receipts and the procedures by which depositary receipt holders will be notified of shareholder meetings or solicitations of proxy votes and be entitled to issue instructions to the depositary as to how to exercise their voting rights.
(l) The manner in which any consolidation or split-up or change in the par value or other reclassification of the issuer's shares will be represented by and accrue to the depositary receipts, in accordance with the principle that holders of depositary receipts are to be treated as having generally equivalent rights to holders of the shares which the depositary receipts represent.
(m) The procedures by which the depositary and/or the custodian at the direction of the depositary will, in consultation with the issuer, fix record dates for transactions affecting the depositary receipts including distributions, rights issues and notices of shareholder meetings.
(n) The procedures by which the depositary will at the direction of the issuer despatch to holders of depositary receipts copies of all notices, reports, voting forms or other communications sent by the issuer to its shareholders, and make available for inspection at its principal office and at the office of the custodian copies of any such notices, reports or communication received from the issuer.
(o) The conditions and process for the issue of new depositary receipts if any depositary receipt certificate is lost, destroyed, stolen or mutilated.
(p) The obligations of holders of depositary receipts, including any liabilities for taxes and other charges and the obligation to disclose the beneficial ownership of the depositary receipts on request of the issuer or the depositary or any regulator.
(q) A clear statement of the fees and charges payable by holders of depositary receipts to the depositary and the custodian.
(r) Procedures for the replacement or removal of the depositary and/or the custodian by or with the consent of the issuer including an obligation to inform depositary receipt holders by advance announcement of any prospective resignation, removal and replacement of the depositary and/or the custodian, and an obligation to inform depositary receipt holders in advance of and seek their prior consent to any material changes to their existing rights and obligations under the deposit agreement.
(s) Procedures for the amendment of the deposit agreement, including a requirement to provide prior notice to and seek the consent of depositary receipt holders to any material change affecting their existing rights or obligations.
(t) The governing law of the deposit agreement should be that of Hong Kong or, if other jurisdiction is chosen, one that is generally used in accordance with international practice. The deposit agreement must not contain provisions that preclude any party from electing to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of Hong Kong for the resolution of any disputes or claims arising from the deposit agreement.