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Allen & Overy covers a range of financial services regulatory matters, advising banks on transactional matters and day-to-day activity. Charlotte Robins, who joined from Norton Rose Fulbright in 2016, Yvonne Siew and associate Will Yip advised DBS Bank on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of ABN AMRO’s private banking business. Robins also assisted Société Générale with securities licensing matters in Hong Kong. Fai Hung Cheung has mainland Chinese financial services regulation expertise, while contentious financial services litigator Simon Clarke has a track record of advising leading institutions on agenda-setting matters concerning both sides of the Shenzhen river. The firm also acts for ICBC, Goldman Sachs, Aviva, Deutsche Bank and HSBC.

Clifford Chance advises key institutions on regulation concerning matters including banking, pensions, takeovers and derivatives. Matthias Feldmann advised ABN AMRO on the sale of its private banking business in the Middle East and Asia to LGT Group, while Mark Shipman, Francis Edwards, Edward Johnson, Brian Gilchrist and Donna Wacker handle financial services matters involving regulators such as the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and Market Misconduct Tribunal matters. The team also acts for State Street, UBS, BNY Mellon and Bank of America.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer covers a range of financial services regulatory matters, covering fintech, policy issues, bancassurance, transactions and prime brokerage. Royce Miller advises the Hong Kong Association of Banks on consultations regarding the resolution mechanism for banks, should one in Hong Kong fail. Transactional highlights include Robert Ashworth, Richard Bird and Miller’s advice to DBS Bank on its purchase of ANZ Bank’s retail banking operations in China, Hong Kong and Vietnam. In the insurance space, Edward Freeman and Teresa Ko acted for First Origin International regarding its proposed purchase of Hong Kong Life, which sells and underwrites life insurance, for HK$7.1bn. Tim Mak is also a key contact for private equity regulation. Simon Hawkins is now a counsel at Latham & Watkins LLP.

Reed Smith Richards Butler has a strong practice in contentious financial services matters, acting for both the regulators and the regulated. David Morrison and Alex Kaung act for CITIC in the wake of long-running Market Misconduct Tribunal (MMT) proceedings over significant foreign exchange contract losses, and a subsequent statement to investors regarding the group’s trading position; the company was cleared. Kaung also represented Minth Group in SFC proceedings over the purchases of two companies in 2008 and an alleged lack of disclosure to shareholders. Also in the MMT space, William Barber represented AcrossAsia in a case regarding non-disclosure of information regarding Indonesian court litigation. Desmond Yu acted for Pacific Andes International Holdings and several of its subsidiaries in the Hong Kong aspects a cross-border regulatory investigation led by a team in the special administrative region by the SFC over alleged accounting inaccuracies. In other work, Nathan Dentice and Yu represented the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants in various judicial review and appeal cases. Other clients include The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and Noble Group.

Baker McKenzie is praised for its ‘good response times’. Karen Man, who heads the non-contentious side of the practice, is ‘very commercial, has deep market knowledge and is flexible in her approach’; she advised LGT Group (the investment arm of the Liechtenstein royal family) on the Hong Kong aspects of its multi-jurisdictional purchase of ABN AMRO’s private banking business in the Middle East and Asia. Cynthia Tang, who has expertise in a range of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and Market Misconduct Tribunal regulatory matters, is a name to note for contentious work. Other clients include EFG Bank and Maybank, a new client win. Grace Fung is a key name at associate level.

Deacons’ Simon Deane advised a Japanese bank and its Hong Kong subsidiary on Banking Ordinance matters, and a ride-sharing company on financial services matters concerning stored value facilities, an area in which he also advises several banks and fintech companies. As far as more traditional financial services work is concerned, Taylor Hui advises on the SFC regulatory aspects of capital markets matters. Cryptocurrencies are also an area of expertise. In addition, Richard Hudson is also representing the Law Society of Hong Kong regarding interventions into two firms. Jane McBride’s expertise includes advising on SFC regulatory aspects of securities matters, one example of this being assisting Mirae Asset Securities with its acquisition of Daewoo Securities. Charmaine Koo has data protection expertise, with Joseph Kwan, the head of the firm’s overall dispute resolution practice, handling heavyweight contentious matters.

Herbert Smith Freehills is ‘a great firm for regulatory work, with a large team in Hong Kong’, providing ‘a good level of service’ on both contentious and non-contentious matters concerning securities, professional investor rules, capital markets and other financial services regulation. William Hallatt has ‘good judgement, a great grasp of the rules and the ability to be pragmatic: a great combination in a regulatory lawyer’, with Gareth Thomas, Kyle Wombolt, Robert Hunt and Julian Copeman also key contacts; the ‘very good’ Hannah Cassidy made partner in May 2017.

Linklaters advises a range of key names across financial services and beyond on regulatory investigations covering various financial matters. Gavin Lewis is a key contact for securities regulation, with Jelita Pandjaitan in Singapore also advising on SFC and HKMA investigations. Melvin Sng is another name to note for this kind of work. Stephen Fletcher has retired, while Marc Harvey transferred to the firm’s London office.

Simmons & Simmons LLP’s ‘very good’ team handles regulatory work including matters concerning fintech (in particular stored value facilities), derivatives and capital markets, some of which with links to mainland China. Jay Lee advised the Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility on the regulatory aspects of a cross-border bond issuance designed to be issued in Singapore and traded in Thailand. Ian Wood handles fintech matters, including advising Neat on providing a stored value facility that can be used like a bank account, while Rolfe Hayden has private equity regulation expertise. Contentious work saw Paul Li representing the former CFO of CITIC Pacific, who was cleared, in the long-running Market Misconduct Tribunal case.

Ashurst’s ‘high-quality and deservedly well-regarded team, which provides high-calibre advice and excellent client service’, ‘has a deeply professional and client-centred approach, providing prompt responses to queries and quick turnaround times’. Ben Hammond, who handles SFC regulatory matters and issues concerning the impacts of MiFID on Hong Kong operators, has ‘a deep knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry, and can bring a global perspective to the matters he advises on’. James Comber and Gareth Hughes also handle work regarding SFC investigations. Counsel is Stephanie Chan another name to note. Clients include BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and Bank of China.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP handles a range of matters concerning financial services and audit regulation, including matters concerning rogue traders and hiring practices. Work highlights for the firm include successfully representing a defendant in the CITIC Market Misconduct Tribunal case. Key names in the practice include Martin Rogers, James Wadham, Karen Chan, and Patrick Sinclair, a former US prosecutor, who joined the firm from Ropes & Gray LLP. In the asset management and investment banking space, the firm acts for BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, alongside a roster of mainland Chinese clients such as Baidu, Bank of China and Tencent.

Dechert’s two-partner team handles various regulatory matters, such as cross-border disputes and mandates involving mainland Chinese elements and American issues. Michael Wong, a new hire from K&L Gates, ‘delivers more than the scope of the work: his quick responses and outstanding knowledge impress clients: he is the one they have in mind when they need compliance advice’. Wong advised Stifel Financial on the Hong Kong aspects of its purchase of Eaton Partners, with Kareena Teh the other partner in the team. Angelym Lim is now an independent consultant.

Covering contentious and non-contentious financial services regulatory work, Hogan Lovellsknows the area and pitches the team size at the right level’. Non-contentious work includes Tim Fletcher and senior associate Jan Buschmann advising Lloyds Banking Group on the regulatory aspects of its subsidiary Scottish Widows’ divestment of a life insurance portfolio to CMI Insurance, while Mark Parsons contributes fintech expertise. In the contentious space, Mark Lin represented a director, who was cleared, in the CITIC Market Manipulation Tribunal case. Other clients include Prudential and AXA. Jocelyn Kwan, formerly a senior associate, is now in-house at HSBC.

King & Wood Mallesons is ‘able to provide timely responses, with particularly good knowledge in securities-related areas’. Richard Mazzochi has ‘strong legal, personal and commercial skills’ – he and Minny Siu advised the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) on updating advice regarding the enforceability of close-out netting in derivatives transactions in Mainland China. The ‘efficient’ Urszula McCormack is ‘available when clients need her and delivers quality advice on time’; she advised Standard Chartered as custodian to Alipay and Octopus for their stored value facilities and assisted Dairy Farm Group with matters relating to an e-payments system for its 7-Eleven stores. Barbara Chiu heads the contentious side of the practice. Other clients include the Hong Kong Association of Banks and the Financial Services Development Council.

Stephenson Harwood handles a range of financial services licensing matters. Mark Reed, Greater China managing partner Voon Keat Lai and senior associate Katherine Liu advised TNG Asia on its successful application for a stored value facility license from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority; Reed and Liu also assisted AC Asset Management with applications for various securities licenses. Contentious matters saw the pair representing a Hong Kong-listed business developing real estate in mainland China after an SFC investigation into an alleged unauthorised collective investment scheme; no enforcement action was recommended. Ivan Ng and senior associate Ian Childs are also recommended.

DLA Piper handles financial services work covering traditional securities matters as well as fintech and other technology-related matters. Jonathan Leitch assisted Optal Asia with its successful application for a HKMA stored value facility license, while Scott Thiel advised Goldman Sachs on the regulatory aspects of several data centre outsourcing transactions. Harris Chan has mobile payments and securities regulation expertise, including successfully defending a client in a private prosecution brought under section 298 of the Securities and Futures Ordinance, securing a costs order against the private prosecutor. Other clients include Samsung Electronics and Aviva. Karl Buch relocated to the firm’s New York office.

The team at Kennedysprovides a very good and personalised client service’. Contentious regulatory partner Kevin Yam ‘gets what it takes to help business people and senior managers; he understands their perspectives, needs and risks’. Mark West also handles contentious work and Peter Cashin is a name to note for non-contentious matters. Below partner level, solicitor Rachel Yuen is ‘110% responsible and reliable’.

O'Melveny’s Denis Brock advises the Hong Kong Confederation of Insurance Brokers on its investigations and prosecutions. Other matters concern mis-selling claims and securities regulation, an area in which Nima Amini also has expertise. Other clients include Deloitte, Aon and Grant Thornton, as well as investment banks.

Counsel Dominic James is now the key name at Sidley Austin, following the departure of Alan Linning to Mayer Brown JSM in 2017. James was part of the team that represented E*TRADE Securities in criminal proceedings regarding a violation of the Securities & Futures Ordinance’s prohibition of carrying out regulated activity without a license. The team also handles contentious SFC work, much of which concerns investment funds.

Timothy Loh LLP’s name partner Timothy Loh advises investment managers and derivatives operators on matters regarding clearing and trading of over-the-counter derivatives. Contentious work includes representing activist short-seller Citron Research in a Court of Appeal case regarding alleged misrepresentations in an investment report regarding mainland Chinese, but Hong Kong-listed, real estate company Evergrande.

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