Financial services regulatory in Australia

Allens

The powerhouse financial services regulatory group at Allens remains a market leader, advising major banks, superannuation funds, fund managers, and life insurance companies on a diverse spectrum of regulatory matters affecting the financial landscape. These include compliance, regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, product development and distribution, customer remediation, selling and purchasing financial services businesses, class actions, and licensing and disclosure obligations. Headed by financial service regulation authority Michelle Levy and sector leader for banks and financial institutions Kim Reid, the group’s client portfolio features Westpac Banking Corporation and AMP. The team also includes financial products expert Simun Soljo and superannuation fund specialist Michael Mathieson.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Levy; Kim Reid

Testimonials

‘They are commercial, they have a breadth of expertise and experience; they have their finger on the pulse in relation to legislative/regulatory reform, their client servicing is excellent.’

‘Responsive, caring, easy to work with, consistent.’

‘They represent good value for money.’

Key clients

AMP

Bendigo and Adelaide Band

Westpac Banking Corporation

Westpac Life Insurance Services

REST Super Fund

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of clients on the introduction of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response) Bill 2020, including how the new reforms will impact their organisation’s existing distribution arrangements.
  • Advising a number of clients, such as Westpac Banking Corporation, MLC, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia on preparing their organisation for the Product Design and Distribution (DDO) regime.
  • Representing REST Super Fund in litigation concerning climate-related risk disclosure.

Clayton Utz

The team at Clayton Utz is well regarded for producing ‘high-quality work within tight timeframes‘, advising national and international banks, life insurance companies, superannuation funds, and fund managers on a diverse range of contentious and non-contentious regulatory matters. These include investigations and regulatory actions by regulators, market strategy, the distribution of financial products, financial services licensing, and compliance. The group is headed by national banking and financial service leader Alexander Schlosser at the Sydney office and national commercial litigation group leader Nick Cooper in Perth. Other key members of the team include Ross McInnes, Matthew Daley, and special counsels Vanessa Pallone and Katie Wood.

Testimonials

‘Clayton Utz has an excellent understanding of our values, business, and processes which gives it the edge over its competitors. They take the time to really understand the business and how it operates. Can always be depended upon to produce high-quality work, within tight timeframes.’

‘Ross McInnes has a deep understanding of our business – he is easy to deal with, very responsive, and very pragmatic. He can be depended upon to offer sound, commercial advice that is aligned with the values of our business.’

Key clients

Barrenjoey Capital Partners Pty Limited

IOOF

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Work highlights

  • Advising in relation to all aspects of the creation of Barrenjoy Capital Partners, a new investment bank in the Australia market.
  • Advising IOOF in relation to their approach to managing the recent wave of regulatory reform post the Royal Commission (including legislation relating to ending grandfathered commission and legislation requiring trustees of registrable superannuation entities to hold no other role or office).
  • Advising CBA in a highly strategic role, providing “whole of portfolio” advice on regulatory engagement with ASIC on investigation and enforcement matters.

Herbert Smith Freehills

The financial services regulation group at Herbert Smith Freehills leverages the strength of the firm's global network to advise domestic and multinational financial institutions, life insurance companies and fund managers across a broad span of regulatory matters. These extend to regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, design and distribution obligations, market entrance and strategy, governance and risk management, and restructurings. The team is headed by contentious regulatory experts Luke Hastings and Andrew Eastwood, Cameron Hanson, Michael Vrisakis, Fiona Smedley, banking regulatory head Charlotte Henry and Tony Coburn.

Key clients

Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited

ASX Limited

NAB

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

MLC Nominees Pty Ltd and NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising on a landmark criminal cartel prosecution brought by the ACCC and the CDPP related to Citigroup Global Markets Australia’s participation in an institutional placement by ANZ.
  • Acting for ASX Limited (ASX) in relation to all aspects of its response to the outage in its ASX Trade platform in November 2020.
  • Advising a range of large multinational investment banks and blue chip and boutique international fund and asset managers to manage the upcoming changes to the Australian financial services licensing exemptions for foreign financial service providers (FFSPs) on 31 March 2022.

King & Wood Mallesons

The experienced financial services regulatory team at King & Wood Mallesons works with a range of prestigious clients, including major local and international banks, funds and insurers, across a diverse spectrum of issues. Such matters include post-Royal Commission law reforms and compliance, investigations and enforcement by regulatory bodies, design and distribution obligations, consumer data rights, class actions, and reputational risk. The group is led at the Sydney office by veteran financial service litigator Alexander Morris and funds management expert Jim Boynton. The team is backed in Melbourne by strategic compliance advisor Katherine Forrest, and in Sydney by contentious expert Moira Saville.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Morris; Jim Boynton

Other key lawyers:

Katherine Forrest; Moira Saville

Testimonials

‘Strong intellectual capability, with specialist skills and experience in financial services regulation.’

‘Technically, King & Wood Mallesons’s financial services regulatory practice is unmatched. Their depth and breadth of knowledge of their respective subject matters leads to efficient and accurate advice to clients.’

‘Partners are always available, responsive, and respectful of the needs and desires of the business. They take ownership of the work, remain engaged throughout the brief, and leave clients feeling valued and important.’

‘The King & Wood Mallesons litigation team is extremely well resourced across all levels. From excellent partners to junior lawyers, they are a team capable of taking on the most complex and reputationally significant of matters.’

‘Alex Morris – technically excellent, well regarded by key clients, and with great industry insight. He is a go-to partner on significant matters.’

Key clients

National Australia Bank

Allianz

Suncorp

Westpac Banking Corporation

Swann Insurance (Australia) Pty Limited & Insurance Australia Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Westpac in relation to the final structure of its remediation program to rectify customers who may have been disadvantaged from incorrect calculation of home loan payments and represented Westpac in ASIC’s investigation.
  • Advised NAB in ASIC’s investigation and class action against NAB and its former insurance business MLC alleging unconscionable conduct in relation to the sale of credit card and personal loan insurance.
  • Advised a large Australian credit licensee on the mischaracterisation of certain loans, including advising on the identification of the loans, the financial remediation applicable and the documentation of changes to the customer terms and conditions to reflect the NCC requirements.

Allen & Overy LLP

The financial services regulation group at Allen & Overy LLP continues to act as trusted advisors to key market players, advising international and domestic investment banks and other leading financial institutions on a wide span of issues. Such matters include regulatory investigations and enforcement, fund management, and compliance strategies involving risk and obligations management and customer remediation. Headed by regulatory expert Jason Denisenko, the team is backed by lawyers across its extensive global network - 42 offices in 31 countries - and supported by senior associate Renji Cai and funds investment specialist Christopher Scarf. All lawyers mentioned are at the Sydney office.

Practice head(s):

Jason Denisenko

Testimonials

‘Excellent experience in regulatory matters.’

‘The partners I deal with are very experienced, with a high level of technical expertise in their field – they bring a practical approach to regulatory problems. I would mention Jason Denisenko in particular.’

Key clients

IOOF Holdings

Aosphere

Work highlights

  • Provided advice to IOOF Holdings in relation to its acquisition of MLC Wealth Ltd from National Australia Bank Ltd for a purchase price of AUD$1.44bn.

Ashurst

The financial services regulation group at Ashurst combines the experience of its team with its Ashurst Risk Advisory Consulting service, to advise major domestic and international banks and insurers on executive accountability, risk management, regulatory change programs, and operational risk. The team is known for having a ‘very deep knowledge of the Australian regulatory landscape’, and its ability to give ‘clear advice across a wide range of markets topics‘. The group is headed by regulatory authority Jonathan Gordon at the Sydney office and backed by payment services expert Philip Trinca in Melbourne, dispute resolution specialist Andrew Carter, and investigation and enforcement advisor Corey McHattan in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Gordon

Testimonials

‘Very deep knowledge of the Australian regulatory landscape – able to give clear advice across a wide range of markets topics. They have a commercial approach, but balanced with firm risk culture as well. Ashurst is the go-to firm for financial regulatory work.’

‘Jonny Gordon is an outstanding regulatory partner – he is responsive, intelligent, always pleasant and has his pulse on the regulatory approach.’

Jonathan Gordon – an excellent advocate with strong knowledge of regulatory frameworks. Jonny has been a great advocate when dealing not only with breaches, but also on reporting requirements with regulators and strategic thinking and improvements to enhance existing approaches and to reach best practice. We trust Jonny’s advice at every stage of the regulatory reporting journey.’

‘Cory McHattan is also a very good regulatory partner with deep experience and a commercial approach.’

Key clients

Société Générale

AxiCorp Financial Services

Till Payments Solutions Pty Ltd

Worldpay (Worldpay (UK) Limited, Worldpay Limited, Worldpay AP Ltd and Worldpay Pty Ltd)

J.P. Morgan

National Australia Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Westpac

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

UBS

Credit Suisse

Pershing Securities

Goldman Sachs

ANZ

Allianz

Work highlights

  • Advised Societe Generale in relation to all aspects of its response to breaches of Australia’s client money rules, which culminated in an investigation and enforcement action against its Australian subsidiary, Societe Generale Securities Australia Pty Ltd (SGSAPL).
  • Advising AxiCorp in relation to emerging regulatory issues for providers of contracts for difference and margin foreign exchange contracts.
  • Provided the Australian regulatory advice required by JPM for the setup and structuring of its proposed e-wallet products in Australia.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

The financial sponsors group at Corrs Chambers Westgarth leverages impressive bench strength to advise national and international banks, investment managers, funds, online platforms and other major financial institutions on a comprehensive range of contentious and non contentious financial regulatory matters. These include Design and Distribution Obligation (DDO) reforms, licensing structures, regulatory investments and enforcement, customer remediation, and the development of regulated products. The practice is headed by head of financial sponsors Robert Clarke in Melbourne, and head of financial sponsors head of commercial litigation Mark Wilks in Sydney. The team is supported by financial service authority Michael Chaaya, regulated products specialist Fadi Khoury, and litigation and insolvency expert Felicity Healy in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Robert Clarke; Mark Wilks

Testimonials

‘Corrs provides us with a one-stop-shop in terms of a commercial law firm offering. The firm is a premium independent law firm and enjoys strong relationships with other independent law firms across the globe which has been beneficial for us in terms of our footprint in other jurisdictions in APAC, Europe, and the USA.’

‘ I can honestly say that the level of servicing is unparalleled and I know this is testament to the fine leadership of Michael Chaaya, who invests heavily in both his team and his clients. Michael is also a champion of diversity in the Australian legal profession and actively promotes workplace flexibility and gender diversity.’

‘The Corrs litigation team is extremely well resourced with a great team of partners, special counsel, associates, and lawyers. They can and do handle large and complex litigations and regulatory engagements. The team’s access to and use of innovative technologies, particularly for large volumes of document review, is enviable.’

‘Brendon Clarke – technically great, excellent strategist, very personable, and extremely hard working. He is a partner to trust on the most complex and sensitive of matters. He is available and responsive on all of his matters.’

‘This team focuses on client needs. They prioritise commercial outcomes and present creative solutions for consideration. They are available, reliable, and accommodating, and provide advice that is consistently sound and which demonstrates an understanding of the commercial and regulatory environment in which clients operate. They are also a team full of friendly and genuine individuals.’

‘They have a deep understanding of the commercial and regulatory environment in which clients operate. They are available when needed, reliable, present cost-effective and creative solutions, and take the time to engage with clients and assist as much as possible.’

Key clients

National Australia Bank

PayPal

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Bank of China

eBay

Etsy, Inc

Blackstone

Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC)

OFX (formerly OzForex)

Invesco Australia Limited

Ruffer LLP

Apex Clearing Corporation

Victory Capital Management, Inc

Apollo Capital Management Pty Limited

Investa Commercial Property Fund

Manulife Financial Corporation

Allianz Real Estate

Oxford Properties Group

Association of Litigation Funders of Australia

CASL Governance Limited

Vanguard

Perpetual Limited

Alvarium Investments

HarbourVest Partners

Work highlights

  • Engaged to advise on the impact and implementation of the new Design and Distribution Obligation (DDO) reforms on behalf of global payment systems operator PayPal and on behalf of global asset manager Invesco.
  • Acted for new client Etsy, Inc in connection with its entry into the Australian market.
  • Advised Apollo Capital Management on the financial services regulatory implications of investment in a range of new and innovative digital or crypto currencies.

Gilbert + Tobin

The experienced group at Gilbert + Tobin provides a comprehensive service to major domestic and international banks, corporations, insurers, funds, and managers, advising on a wide spectrum of financial regulatory issues. Such matters extend to remediation and compliance program implementation, regulatory investigations and enforcement, licensing and authorisations, consumer credit regulation, digital sectors, risk management, and shareholder class actions. The group is headed by respected financial regulation authority Richard Harris, regulatory market expert Elizabeth Avery, and fintech and digital sector specialist Peter Reeves. The group also includes Philippa Hofbrucker and Daniel MacPherson, who advises clients on major investigations. All lawyers mentioned are at the Sydney office.

Testimonials

‘Technically strong and accessible lawyers. Commercial, pragmatic and strategic.’

‘Key strengths are experience and knowledge of the financial services industry in the regulatory enforcement and litigation space. The partners are experts in this space and are responsive and commercial.’

‘Richard Harris is a leader in the field – his expertise and experience in this field are top-notch and his engagement with senior stakeholders on the client side is excellent. His strategic skills are second to none. Daniel MacPherson is responsive, analytical and commercial.’

‘A highly experienced firm in regulatory litigation – perhaps the most experienced firm in large scale and high profile regulatory investigations/ litigation. The firm has literally seen it all in this space. Richard Harris leads the way.’

‘Richard Harris – unparalleled experience acting for large corporates in this space. A true trusted advisor, who achieves exceptional results. Richard has recently brought through two rising stars in this area – Dan MacPherson and Philippa Hofbrucker. These newer partners are exceptional appointments, and ones to watch as future industry leaders.’

Key clients

Australian Banking Association

Clearview Wealth Management

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Deloitte

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Investa

Macquarie Group Limited

PayPal Australia Pty Ltd

TAL Life Insurance

Visa Worldwide

Westpac Banking Corporation

WLTH Pty Ltd

RelayPay Pty Ltd

MYOB Australia Pty Ltd

Holon Global Investments Pty Ltd

IOOF

Cashrewards

Coinbase

Work highlights

  • Acted for Westpac in relation to an ASIC investigation, an APRA investigation and a class action proceeding, which have arisen from proceedings commenced by AUSTRAC (Australia’s financial intelligence government agency) against Westpac in the Federal Court.
  • Advising Westpac on its agreement to sell its vendor equipment finance business for $600m to Cerberus Capital Management.
  • Advised IOOF Investment Management Limited on its engagement of HUB24 Custodian Services Limited as IOOF’s platform and administration and custody provider.

Minter Ellison

The financial services regulation practice at Minter Ellison develops custom solutions for major banks, insurers, and other financial institutions, advising on a broad range of regulatory matters. These include Australian financial services licensee (AFS) obligations, Design and Distribution Obligation (DDO) reforms, Unfair Contract Terms (UCT) updates, insurance services and products, regulatory investigations and enforcement, cartel proceedings, and class actions. Headed by wealth management expert Richard Batten, and supported by banking licensing specialist Ian Lockhart, and special counsel Martin Wright, the team’s client portfolio includes household names Allianz and Mastercard.

Practice head(s):

Richard Batten

Other key lawyers:

Ian Lockhart; Martin Wright

Testimonials

‘The team has a breadth of specialisms and takes a collaborative approach in forming advice.’

‘Martin Wright is very engaging and genuinely interested in addressing the issues at hand.’

Key clients

AIA

Allianz

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

ClearView

HUB24

IAG

Mastercard

NAB

QBE

Suncorp

Westpac

Work highlights

  • Advising Commonwealth Bank of Australia and assisting its US legal counsel, Sullivan & Cromwell, on defence of the Bank Bill Swap Rate (BBSW) class action litigation in the US which alleges Sherman Act Antitrust violations.
  • Assisting financial services clients on the implementation of the Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO) regime, which is due to come into effect in October 2021.
  • Undertaking a review and update of AMP Bank’s deposit products (a suite of documents covering account access terms, terms and conditions for basic deposit products and PDS and disclosure documentation for a product not falling within that definition).

Norton Rose Fulbright

The financial services group at Norton Rose Fulbright leverages the experience of its multidisciplinary team and significant global platform to assist major national and international banks, funds, and insurance companies on a wide range of contentious and non contentious regulatory matters. The team is praised for its 'personal touch and the genuine care in which they approach every interaction'; it is led by Jon Ireland and Claudine Salameh in Sydney, who work in tandem with financial institutions co-head Helen Taylor.

Practice head(s):

Jon Ireland; Claudine Salameh

Other key lawyers:

Helen Taylor

Testimonials

‘The Norton Rose team take a personal approach, building strong relationships through genuine care and taking the time to truly understand client needs and then collaborating to best serve those needs. Furthermore, they show genuine care for their own people, irrespective of seniority.’

‘As partners, Claudine Salameh and Helen Taylor are a joy to work with. They have deep industry knowledge and excellent legal skills however, in my opinion, what sets them apart from their competitors is the personal touch and genuine care in which they approach every interaction. They take a holistic approach that aims to deliver great outcomes for clients at excellent value.’

‘Etelka Bogardi is knowledgeable, responsive and pragmatic. She is fantastic to work with and has a collaborative approach.’

Key clients

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Westpac/BT Financial Group

AMP

Macquarie

MLC Limited

QBE Insurance

Mercer Investments

ING Bank

Aware Super

IOOF

Work highlights

  • Advised Aware Super, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, with the establishment of its Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) portal.
  • Assisted BT Financial Group (BTFG) with a large-scale project management program to review and remediate “fee for no service” issues across Westpac, St George and other brands.
  • Advised IOOF on the insurance aspects of its A$1.44bn purchase of the MLC Wealth business from National Australia Bank (NAB).

Baker McKenzie

The financial services and funds team at Baker McKenzie provides both ‘off-the-cuff pragmatic views‘ and ‘top quality, well-informed advice‘ to clients including domestic and international banks, funds, multinational card scheme operators, and fintech companies on a broad spectrum of financial regulatory issues. Such matters include co-investment arrangements, the development of investment products, ASX AQUA Market Rules compliance, and regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. Led in Sydney by listed investment product expert Bill Fuggle, the group’s client portfolio includes Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas. The team includes special counsel Yechiel Belfer in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Bill Fuggle

Other key lawyers:

Yechiel Belfer; Lewis Apostolou

Testimonials

‘The Bakers team is approachable and responsive, willing to offer off-the-cuff pragmatic views and never fails to deliver top quality, well-informed advice.’

‘Bill Fuggle is our go-to guy for all financial services regulatory issues. He is well-connected, with a superb handle on the regulatory requirements that really matter and how to manage them, and super-responsive. And a great guy to deal with.’

‘Able to provide practical and actionable advice as to the preferred options. This builds trust between the client and firm and leads to further business for other needs as they arise.’

‘Yechiel Belfer has deep technical expertise, attention to detail and an ability to communicate complex issues clearly.’

Key clients

Wells Fargo

BNP Paribas

CMC Markets Ltd

Quay Fund Services Ltd as RE for Wisemans Surf Lodge

Sequoia Specialist Investment Pty Ltd

Loftus Peak Investment Management Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Wells Fargo in respect of their global activities carried out in Australia and the regulatory treatment in Australia for each of the financial products, financial services, regulated and commercial credit products and other banking services it offers throughout its global offices.
  • Providing legal advice to BNP Paribas in relation to the operation of the global derivatives and structured product products platform and the regulatory requirements to incorporate into offer documentation, distribution agreements and the construction of the Australian climate index in conjunction with Monash University Climate Works and the Australian Ethical Research centre.
  • Providing legal advice to CMC Markets Ltd regarding the regulatory environment across five jurisdictions in Asia and the Pacific.

Clyde & Co LLP

The financial services regulatory team at Clyde & Co LLP utilises its global reach to provide personalised services for major insurers, brokers, and financial institutions, on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters, and is known as 'one of the leading insurance law firms in Australia.' Headed by financial compliance authority Dean Carrigan and corporate governance expert Avryl Lattin, the group’s client portfolio features Blue Zebra Insurance and 360 Underwriting Solutions. The team is backed by special counsels Yvonne Lam and Johann Spies and lead associate Mitchell McMartin, who specialises in insurance regulation. All lawyers mentioned are at the Sydney office.

Practice head(s):

Avryl Lattin; Dean Carrigan

Other key lawyers:

Yvonne Lam; Johann Spies

Testimonials

‘This practice provides clarity and certainty in their service delivery. I am always assured the advice I receive will be on point with the fast-moving regulatory changes, as the practice leaders are renowned industry leaders who are at the forefront of regulatory change and dialogue. The service delivery model is also very commercial in providing solutions that are pragmatic and to budget. ’

‘Avryl Lattin is a great practitioner who is at the forefront of industry changes. Avryl is able to mobilise very quickly to respond to business needs, whether it be a simple regulatory advice or larger scale M&A project.’

‘Johann Spies is a very commercial operator and a very skilled negotiator. Great to have Johann negotiating on your side!’

‘One of the leading insurance law firms in Australia.’

‘Dean Carrigan is without a doubt a leading individual – superb knowledge of the law and the industry, very user-friendly and responsive.’

Key clients

360 Underwriting Solutions

Arch Worldwide Reinsurance Group

Arthur J Gallagher

Blue Zebra Insurance Pty Ltd

IQumulate Premium Funding

Insurance Australia Limited

Insurance Council of Australia

MLC Limited

MyBudget Pty Ltd

Wilsons Holding Company Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of Australian insurers as they seek court determinations on (a) the proper interpretation of the Quarantine Act exclusions in their SME business pack policy wordings, and (b) judicial guidance on policy triggers and adjustment clauses.
  • Advised 360 and its founders on AUB’s acquisition of the 360 group of companies and the restructure of a number of other underwriting agencies into the 360 group of companies.
  • Advised underwriting agency BZI on product development of its personal lines insurance products and small medium enterprise (SME) insurance products and also BZI’s distribution arrangements as it transitioned from Zurich to Youi as the insurer of its products.

DLA Piper

The financial service regulation group at DLA Piper works with major domestic and international banks, insurance companies, funds, and other financial institutions, on a diverse spectrum of issues, and is praised for providing ‘commercial and pragmatic support that is solution-driven.’ Led by Samantha O’Brien in Brisbane and investment funds expert Martin Jamieson in Sydney, the team’s client base features key market players Allianz and Westpac. The group is backed by class action specialist Matthew Spain in Melbourne, corporate risk advisor Natalie Caton and associate Ann-Marie Coleman in Brisbane.

Testimonials

‘Strong intellectual capability and experience in financial services regulation.’

‘In the context of current regulatory reform and enforcement, DLA have a unique offering in that they have a deep understanding of both the financial service advisory and the fulfilment environment which enables them to provide commercial and pragmatic support that is solution-driven.’

Key clients

Accel-KKR

AddVenture Capital

Allianz Australia

Allianz Worldwide Partners

ANZ and ANZi (the corporate venture capital fund of ANZ Banking Group)

Aura Capital

Bank of Queensland

Carthona Capital

Certane

Deferit

Diversa Trustees

Ezidebit

FM Global

Global Payments

Hannover Life Re of Australasia

IOOF

Level Equity

Macquarie Capital

OneVentures

Our Innovation Fund

RACQ

Reinventure (Westpac’s corporate venture capital fund)

Square

Steadfast Group

Suncorp

Westpac

Worldline

Youi

Work highlights

  • Instructed to assist Omni Bridgeway with its (successful) application for an AFS license and subsequent advice on the registration of 3 retail litigation funds and applications for relief to ASIC and AUSTRAC.
  • Advised Worldline on its acquisition of 51% of the merchant acquiring business of ANZ Bank with EV of AUD$925m and related 10-year strategic alliance arrangements.
  • Acting as exclusive legal advisor to Reinventure, Westpac’s AU$150m corporate venture capital fund, advising on all its investments to date, comprising more than 30 investments in the fintech space.

Clifford Chance

With a vast global network spanning Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and seven offices in four Asia Pacific countries, the banking and finance and disputes team at Clifford Chance advises major banks, financial institutions and corporates on risk assessment, licensing, the marketing of new financial products, compliance issues and investigations by government regulators and enforcement agencies. The team is led in Sydney by Chad Bochan, who assists with energy and infrastructure financings, Tim Grave, who specialises in corruption and anti-bribery matters, experienced regulatory litigator Angela Pearsall, and by dispute resolution advisor Ben Luscombe in Perth.

Practice head(s):

Chad Bochan; Tim Grave; Angela Pearsall; Ben Luscombe

Colin Biggers & Paisley

The financial services regulatory group at Colin Biggers & Paisley  advises domestic and international banks, investment and property funds and managers, and major insurance companies, across a diverse array of matters. These include distribution arrangements, AFS licensing, governance structures and systems, regulatory investigations and enforcement, fintech, product development, digital banking, cryptocurrency regulation, and compliance. The group is headed by Sydney transaction and regulatory expert Michael Bracken, alongside regulator interaction specialist Toby Blyth.

Practice head(s):

Michael Bracken

Other key lawyers:

Toby Blyth

Work highlights

  • Acting for Realcover on the transfer of its PI portfolio to QBE pursuant to the Insurance Act 1973.
  • Advising a Chinese bank in relation to its Australian banking and financial services business, including prudential and financial market compliance.
  • Advising an Australian fund manager in relation to the establishment of a bitcoin wholesale managed fund.

Gadens Lawyers

The financial services regulatory team at Gadens Lawyers advises major domestic and international banks, insurers, as well as government regulators such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), on a broad span of issues. These matters are include regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, residential mortgage industry compliance and credit licensing obligations, among others. Headed by financial services sector authority Kathy Merrick in Sydney office, and risk and compliance expert Liam Hennessy in Brisbane, the team’s client portfolio includes household names National Australia Bank and Volkswagen Financial Services. The group is backed by commercial dispute specialist Edward Martin in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Kathy Merrick; Liam Hennessy

Other key lawyers:

Edward Martin

Testimonials

‘The Gadens FSR practice is technically excellent, highly responsive and commercially competitive. Whereas some ‘top-tier’ FSR practices seem only to target the big banks and super funds, Gadens’ expertise spans the broad landscape of Australian financial services. This is particularly helpful for any small to mid-size financial services companies (of all variety) who are looking for top-quality lawyers who understand the nuances of their business.’

‘Liam Hennessy has the expertise of someone 20 years his senior, while at the same time being hungry to grow his practice. The result is a highly attentive lawyer who is completely across the devilish detail of Australian financial services laws. His time spent internationally means he is also a practical expert on other common law jurisdictions’ regulatory developments, which is particularly appealing for companies operating around the globe.’

‘Liam Hennessey is our key firm contact. He is deeply knowledgeable and very client-centric. He is a rising star who delivers big firm outcomes at a mid-tier price.’

Key clients

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC)

Australia New Zealand Banking Group

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

National Australia Bank

Westpac Banking Corporation

Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFSA)

Credit Union Australia

Judo Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFSA) in proceedings brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for alleged breaches of responsible lending laws in respect of car finance products.
  • Continues to assist and advise APRA with a number of matters referred to APRA for further investigations, having acted for APRA in the high-profile Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry and publication of the Royal Commission’s Final Report.

Hall & Wilcox

The financial services team at Hall & Wilcox works with banks, financial institutions, investment funds, insurance companies, and government agencies, advising on a diverse range of regulatory issues. Such matters include fintech, market entry and strategy, regulatory investigations and enforcement, design and distribution obligations, governance, and blockchain. The team includes Harry NewAdrian Verdnik, and Jacob Uljans  in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Harry New

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Verdnik; Jacob Uljans

Key clients

CSF Pty Ltd (Catholic Super) – now Togethr Trustees

Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning Focus Financial Partners LLC

L.U.C.R.F Pty Ltd as trustee for LUCRF Super

Asian Pacific Capital Limited

TruePillars

LifePay Pty Ltd

Oliver Hume Corporation and related entities MTAA Superannuation Fund /Tasplan

Work highlights

  • Advising the Victorian Government on its innovative Solar Homes Program which provides rebates and interest-free loans with the goal of assisting 778,500 Victorian households year period to install solar panels, solar hot water or battery systems.
  • Engaged to undertake the financial services regulatory due diligence for Yarra’s acquisition of the Australian funds management business of Nikko.

Johnson Winter & Slattery

The financial services regulation group at Johnson Winter & Slattery provides tailored advice for major national and international banks, investment funds and managers, and government regulators, such as the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), across a wide array of regulatory issues. Such matters include financial product Design and Distribution Obligations (DDO), derivative transaction reporting requirements, breach reporting obligations, and regulatory investigations and enforcement. Headed by financial services authority Austin Bell, the team is supported by infrastructure and utilities expert Simon Haddy and disputes specialist Tom Jarvis in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Austin Bell

Other key lawyers:

Simon Haddy; Tom Jarvis

Key clients

Utilities Trust of Australia

Lighthouse Infrastructure

ASIC

amicaa Funds Management Pty Limited

PIMCO

The Advisers Association (previously known as AMP Financial Planning Association Limited)

Galactic Litigation Partners, LLC

Burford Capital

Syndex Limited

Worrells

Work highlights

  • Prepared advice and AFS licence application for Galactic Litigation Finance so it will be an AFS licensee authorised to operate litigation funding schemes in Australia.
  • Provides ongoing advice to the Utilities of Australia Pty Ltd as trustee of Utilities Trust of Australia and its board, in relation to matters such as AFSL obligations, NTA requirements, regulatory framework and fiduciary/trustee duties.
  • Aided Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) in proceedings stemming from an investigation involving a high profile tech start-up company that offers a software solution for delivery logistics worldwide, similar in nature to “Uber”.  

K&L Gates

The asset management and investment funds group at K&L Gates works with a range of major international financial institutions, advising global investment managers, private insurers, and superannuation funds, on a comprehensive range of regulatory issues. Such matters include the distribution of financial products, fintech, payment systems and regulatory investigations and enforcement. Led by financial products expert Jim Bulling in Melbourne, the team’s client portfolio includes Human Financial and Medibank Private Limited. The group is supported by credit regulatory specialist Daniel Knight in Melbourne and Kane Barnett, in Sydney, who advises on fund formation and investment.

Practice head(s):

Jim Bulling

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Knight; Kane Barnett

Testimonials

‘The team is very practical in forming their legal solutions, and has always worked collaboratively with us.’

‘Daniel Knight is great to work with because he has really good industry knowledge and is practical in forming legal solutions that could be applied by us. In addition, Daniel is always professional and genuinely a nice person.’

‘Jim Bulling and Felix Charlesworth are very responsive, clear and decisive in their advice.’

‘The team provide a very personalised service in that they are always available to advise on a whole range of matters that are important to our company. We never feel like we are asking silly questions, even if they may seem straightforward to experienced lawyers. They take the time to explain things in very simple and easy-to-understand terms, with no legal jargon within their advice. During the pandemic they have really used technology to their advantage and have made themselves even more available than before by using online meeting platforms. 

‘Daniel Knight is the most helpful partner I have had the pleasure of working with. He is always available to answer calls and emails and will always make time for our queries. He was available for a last-minute meeting with a third party with very little notice and was able to present our side very well. In the advice he provides to us, he considers not only the questions we have asked but is also forward-thinking and provides advice for other possible scenarios that could arise in the future too.’

‘This firm and practice has deep domain expertise in the field where we’ve required advice. They are pragmatic and deliver high-quality advice in a timely fashion. The partners understand the business, its challenges and as such feel like an extension of our team.’

‘Dan Atkin operates as an extension of our core team, offering up strategic insights and pragmatic solutions to challenges we face. Kane Barnett has been very thorough in delivering outstanding quality work.’

Key clients

EML Payments and Novatti Group Limited

Human Financial

Medibank Private Limited

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

Patrizia AG & Phoenix

New Quantum

Aware Super

Kingfisher Mobile Limited

Columbia Threadneedle Investments

TrueLayer Limited

Wingate Group

SecondQuarter Ventures

Stafford Capital Partners

CSIRO) and CSIRO Financial Services Pty Ltd trading as Main Sequence Ventures (CSIROFS)

ReGen

Intuit Inc.

Sniip

Payoneer

InfiniGold

Rent.com.au

Funding.com.au

Payton Capital

180 Markets

Work highlights

  • Advised Kingfisher Mobile Limited (KMA) in relation to the financial services implications of certain elements when it entered into a significant service agreement with a major Australian Telco company for the provision of service continuity programs including mobile device upgrade replacement and repair.
  • Advised Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and CSIRO Financial Services Pty Ltd trading as Main Sequence Ventures (CSIROFS) in relation to the structuring, offering and operation of its funds and on the recent launch of CSIRO Innovation Fund 2, LP, an early-stage venture capital limited partnership.
  • Advised TrueLayer about the regulatory options for launching its open banking and payments products into the Australian market.

Piper Alderman

The financial services and fintech team at domestic Australian firm Piper Alderman advises major domestic and international financial institutions, funds, and fintech start-ups across a broad range of financial regulatory matters. These include regulatory investigations and disputes, licence applications, payment systems, investment schemes, and crypto-asset exchanges. Headed by regulatory authority Shannon Adams at the Adelaide office, the team has used the ‘Paid by Coins’ payment gateway to allow clients to pay for service with leading cryptocurrencies. The group is backed by veteran commercial litigator Simon Morris, risk management expert Andrea Beatty and Michael Bacina in Sydney, and investment scheme specialist James Dickson in Adelaide.

Practice head(s):

Shannon Adams

Testimonials

‘Extensive experience in the payments industry and financial services generally coupled with excellent legal skills. Client communication is excellent and they are always available, often at short notice, to assist and provided advice.’

‘Michael Bacina and his team go above and beyond to deliver the best advice and executes well. Piper Alderman demonstrates exemplary service and conduct in the legal field.’

This practice is somewhat unique in that it is a mid-tier national firm based in Adelaide. These qualities enable it to be properly resourced without the bureaucracies of the largest firms in that you are able to deal with a senior partner without delegation of functions to junior recruits and, in addition, being based in Adelaide enables lower relative fee scales.’

‘James Dickson is a stand-out partner due to his high level of legal expertise, commerciality and ability to deliver outcomes from complex situations involving multi-counter-party legal teams. He is highly accessible and his response times are quick which contributes to exceptional outcomes which has not been the case with other legal firms that I have dealt with/observed in practice. It is also helpful that he is passionate and dedicated to legal practice.’

Key clients

BHF Solutions Pty Ltd

Cigno Pty Ltd, Gold-Silver Standard Finance Pty Ltd

Coppin Investment Partners Limited

D H Flinders Pty Ltd

FRP Capital Pty Ltd

Monochrome Asset Management Pty Ltd

Pilgrim Private Pty Ltd

RCF Jolimont Management Pty Ltd

Sandhurst Trustees Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited)

TRUE Infrastructure Management Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing Cigno Pty Ltd in its Full Federal Court appeal against the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Cigno in challenging ASIC Corporations (Product Intervention Order—Short Term Credit) Instrument 2019/917, which is ASIC’s product intervention order power.
  • Successfully acted for D H Flinders in relation to Supreme Court proceedings against the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).
  • Engaged by Sandhurst Trustees in respect of the registration of the fund with ASIC under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the offering of the fund to retail and wholesale clients.