Allen & Overy is a go-to firm for banking and finance regulation. The firm benefits from a strong PRC connection, leveraging its joint operation with Lang Yue Law Firm to offer detailed insight into PRC and international regulatory matters. The financial services regulatory team is experienced advising financial institutions, as well as acting for their existing client base including investment banks and major global private banks. Team head, Charlotte Robins, has also participated in industry association groups such as AIMA and PWMA, and focuses her attention towards developing regulatory changes such as in fintech and corporate governance. Matt Bower leading the litigation team, regularly advises clients on contentious matters and has worked with numerous regulators such as the SFC, HKMA and KFTC.
Regulatory in Hong Kong
Allen & Overy
Other key lawyers:
- Advising an international investment bank on its application to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to upgrade its restricted licence bank status to full bank status in Hong Kong.
- Advising one of the largest cryptocurrency derivatives trading platforms in connection with a U.S. Government investigation into suspected anti-money laundering laws connected with the operation of its trading platform.
- Advising various unicorn payment services companies on a number of complex regulatory, structuring and money-laundering issues.
Clifford Chance has a deep bench of expertise across its regulatory practice, boasting strong connections with industry associations, such as AIMA, FSDC and ASIFMA, and regularly advises on incoming regulatory developments, such as virtual assets and climate risk evaluation. Mark Shipman, co-practice head, is a dominant force in non-contentious matters and is regularly instructed by local and international funds and asset managers on securities and other related regulatory issues. Donna Wacker, co-practice head, focuses on contentious banking and financial regulatory matters and specialises in regulatory enforcement investigations as well as dispute resolution for financial services firms. The firm’s regulatory advice is underpinned by its practitioners’ strong transactional background and range of corporate expertise.
Mark Shipman; Donna Wacker
Other key lawyers:
‘Clifford Chance can combine different specialties to deal with complex matters even beyond the countries’ borders.’
‘The team can collaborate, maximise their strength and provide us with the precise advice in a timely manner.’
‘We are happy with their professional deep knowledge and experience.’
‘Jonathan Wong provided us with legal advice together with detailed explanation which we could understand. He also provided us with the interpretation of regulations, past cases and regulator’s view. He could analyse the case carefully and guide us along the process.’
Ashurst is regularly instructed across financial services regulation, both contentious and non-contentious, with specific focus on bank and licensed corporation regulatory capital, aiming to reconcile domestic and international jurisdictional requirements. Ben Hammond, non-contentious practice head, has experience advising large international financial institutions and has particular strength in the banking sector, sitting on several global and local bank panels. Contentious head, James Comber, has been advised on numerous large-scale SFC investigations, including that of the Royal Bank of Canada. The regulatory team operates a monthly ‘Regulatory Breakfast Club’ to update clients with insights into incoming regulatory developments that might affect their operations.
Ben Hammond; James Comber
Other key lawyers:
‘This team is well regarded among financial institutions to advise on regulatory matters. They are sensible and measured in their advice.’
‘Cliff Chow to the team is a great addition to the team bolstering their litigation and contentious regulatory capabilities. Cliff is detailed in his analysis and knowledgeable in the financial litigation space.’
‘Deep knowledge of HK regulatory requirements, solid understanding of HK Customs and their approach to regulatory topics. Brilliant customer service.’
‘Ben Hammond is responsive, understand our needs well and overall had been a brilliant partner for us over the past few years.’
‘This team possesses in-depth market knowledge and a good understanding of clients.’
‘You have to look at the Ashurst Regulatory practice in Hong Kong as part of a team providing seamless service across the main APAC jurisdictions. They collaborate together and clients receive the benefit of that. If we contact a partner in Sydney, they can co-ordinate a response across APAC and beyond.’
Ashurst’s advice is always commercial and pragmatic. The Hong Kong office always comes up with solutions. Across the region, Ashurst is uniformly responsive and efficient.’
‘Ben Hammond has become our “go-to” regulatory lawyer in APAC. He approaches any issue logically and with a view to finding a good commercial outcome for his client.’
Royal Bank of Canada
Bank of China
ABN AMRO Clearing
CLSA / CITIC Securities
China Merchants Bank Co., Ltd
HAI Cloud Exchange (HK) Limited
- Advising a significant proportion of Hong Kong’s exchange market makers in understanding, implementing and complying with Hong Kong regulatory and exchange obligations.
- Advising a number of clients on the update of various mandate documentation and internal policies in light of new requirements on bookbuilding and placing activities in debt capital market (DCM) and equity capital market (ECM) transactions.
- Advised HAI Cloud Exchange in responding to a Norwich Pharmacal application and associated claim against the client.
Baker McKenzie capitalises upon its breadth of financial experience to offer a full-service regulatory offering. Contentious and non-contentious practice heads, Cynthia Tang and Karen Man respectively, are well-regarded for their work in the Hong Kong regulatory sphere and the team operates with ‘professional expertise, market knowledge, and turnaround time’, offering ‘practical solutions’ to issues faced by clients. The firm primarily advises financial institutions through complex regulatory regimes regarding banking, securities, funds and fintech, and has more recently broadened its fintech client base including cryptocurrency exchanges, virtual banking and initial coin offerings. The team has also built strong financial services regulator relationships across Hong Kong.
Cynthia Tang; Karen Man
Other key lawyers:
‘Features include professional expertise, market knowledge, turnaround time and practical solutions.’
‘In comparing with other firms, their advantage lies in their flexibility and commercial acumen towards the challenges.’
‘Karen Man is a seasoned regulatory compliance professional. She provides practical solutions to matters relating to the financial services industry and maintains a very good relationship with the Regulator.’
‘The team has an excellent synergy enabling the firm to deliver an exceptional performance.’
‘Karen Man is an excellent project leader. She is able to pool appropriate expertise and resources within Baker to form a team suitable for the client’s need.’
‘Jeremy Ong is an excellent drafter and knows the regulations well. He is quick-minded and thinks outside the box to resolve issues.’
‘I have utmost faith and confidence in the advice given by Karen Man.’
A global private banking company
A leading global investment management firm
A leading global private equity fund managers
A leading information technology services company
CCB Asia (Trustee) Company Limited
Charles Schwab Corporation
Fusion Bank Limited
National United Resources Holdings Limited
Tencent Holdings Limited
United Overseas Bank
- Acted as international counsel to CITIC Group in connection with its investment into China Huarong Asset Management pursuant to a ¥42b capital increase exercise undertaken by China Huarong.
- Advised National United Resources in dealing with the suspension directed by the SFC by making an application obtaining permission of the trading resumption.
- Assisted a leading global investment management firm on their governance and reporting structure in light of the SFC’s accountability policies.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advises financial services clients on both buy and sell-side of transactions, as well as advisory clients and financial infrastructure clients on a wide variety of regulatory enforcement and advisory matters, including a unique focus on the fintech sector with experience of virtual currencies and digital assets. The firm leverages its connection with US regulators to provide cohesive advice for clients exercising cross-border activity and possesses a strong contentious team, led by James Wadham, Karen Chan and Martin Rogers, with experience navigating the current complexities of Sino-US regulatory frameworks.
James Wadham; Karen Chan; Martin Rogers
‘This is the best regulatory team in Hong Kong with a depth of experience navigating tricky issues with the SFC/HKMA.’
‘James Wadham is superb and a trusted advisor.’
‘This is one of the best firms to provide regulatory practice in Hong Kong and the U.S. Their partners and associates are extremely professional and dedicated to clients.’
‘This firm demonstrated more mature and exceptional legal skills compared to many others.’
‘They come up with excellent strategies and guide clients to achieve good results.’
‘I highly value Martin Rogers in Hong Kong. He has extremely in-depth knowledge in financial regulation and is very strategic in guiding clients to achieve excellent result.’
Deacons has a large financial services regulatory team based in Hong Kong, utilising specific experience of senior partners across banking and finance to offer comprehensive advice on both contentious and non-contentious matters. The firm focuses its attention on the Hong Kong regulatory terrain, building connections with statutory regulators such as the SFC, and sitting on government-facing committees to offer recommendations on incoming legislation. The firm offers tailored advice for finance clients entering the region, such as institutional asset managers, securities houses and investment banks, and is particularly well-regarded for its fund management regulatory services. The expertise of contentious and non-contentious practice heads respectively, Joseph Kwan and Jeremy Lam, are valued highly in this practice area.
Jeremy Lam; Joseph Kwan
- Assisted Janus Henderson Investors Hong Kong Limited in obtaining SFC authorisation of Janus Henderson Horizon Fund – Sustainable Future Technologies Fund as an ESG fund.
Dechert maintains its capacity across both contentious and non-contentious regulatory issues, with co-practice heads, Maria Sit, who combines her prior experience within the SFC with litigation expertise to guide firms through major regulatory investigations, and Michael Wong, who regularly advises investment and asset management firms across a spectrum of financial services regulation. The firm’s hedge fund expertise is described as an ‘impressive and commercially-minded’, and is consolidated by its presence in key investment jurisdictions.
Michael Wong; Maria Sit
Other key lawyers:
‘Dechert’s regulatory team is the right mix of legal expertise and commercial nous.’
‘They thoroughly understand the issues and are always able to provide strategic advice and pragmatic solutions.’
‘I would happily recommend Dechert’s service on regulatory matters.’
‘Michael Wong has been a pleasure to work with, in terms of professionalism, competence, and dedication to clients.’
‘We work regularly with Michael Wong and his team on a variety of complex investment fund related matters. None of the matters they work on are ‘cookie-cutter’ and they’re able to handle complex transactions comfortably.’
‘Michael Wong and Amanda Liu form a great non-contentious team. I always value their ability to explain complex situations in a straight forward comprehensible manner which can be easily actioned.’
‘The hedge funds team at Dechert has continued to impress us with both their technical ability and commercial approach to deal matters. Also, deep experience, excellent solutions and superb understanding of market practices. In addition, the fees charged by Dechert are very reasonable.’
‘Michael provides us expert advice with a commercial bias and has a fantastic commitment to client service. I would happily recommend Dechert’s service on hedge funds matters. In addition, he has highly experienced in the establishment of a range of hedge funds and has a really commercial understanding of how they operate.’
Taiping Trustees Limited
Bercheva Opportunities Ltd
Greenwoods Asset Management
Ping An of China Asset Management
UBS Asset Management
Allspring Investment Management
Bank of Singapore
Fore Elite Capital Management
China Universal Asset Management
- Advised a client on SFC authorisation and launch of its first Luxembourg UCITS funds in Hong Kong, including its first ESG fund, the China Green Bond Fund.
- Represented Fore Elite, a Hong Kong licensed fund manager, in securing regulatory approval to manage portfolios that directly invest up to 100% in virtual assets from the Hong Kong SFC.
Following the arrival of practice head William Hallatt and other key team members from Herbert Smith Freehills, Gibson Dunn has seen an increase in the quantity and quality of contentious and non-contentious regulatory work. The team has advised regulators such as the SFC and HKMA on incoming legislation, specifically regarding digital assets and sanctions, as well as advising several high-profile clients, including crypto-exchanges and investment banks, on matters including investigations, leveraging their strong US connection to offer a globally coherent strategy.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills maintains its broad regulatory practice with a focus on financial services. The team advises across both contentious and non-contentious matters, supported by the firm’s strong Corporate Crime & Investigations practice, often involving cross-border investigations, financial regulators such as the SFC and HKMA, incoming legislation, and more recently, increasing HKEX-related matters. The FSR team, headed by Hannah Cassidy, regularly advises financial institutions and listed companies on a broad range of matters.
Other key lawyers:
Simon Chapman; Peter Ng
‘Hannah Cassidy from the financial regulatory team, and Simon Chapman and Peter Ng from the litigation team were able to advise us seamlessly through a contentious issue and successfully resolved our matter with a positive result.’
King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons has a broad roster of high-profile clients who benefit from its interlocking experience across finance, regulation and technology. The team, led by Richard Mazzochi, has notable ability when advising on digital assets and emerging fintech products such as blockchain, digital identity and AI (Artificial Intelligence), and has a keen understanding of regulatory methods and fosters advisory relationships with institutional regulators in the region. The team covers both contentious and non-contentious regulatory work.
‘The regulatory team is broad and has a depth of experience in both Hong Kong and its interactions with PRC.’
‘Richard Mazzochi has extensive knowledge and network within the firm and outside and provides technical and commercially grounded advice that is very helpful.’
‘The team is well-equipped across the regulatory environment and has a great depth of experience.’
‘Richard Mazzochi is highly experienced, communicates well and brings a commercial perspective to his advice.’
Bank of New York Mellon
Standard Chartered and its subsidiary, Mox Bank
Li Han Chun and Top Wisdom Overseas Holdings Limited
Cedar Asset management (HK) Limited
Sino IC Leasing Co., Ltd
Finex Hong Kong Limited
China Orient International Asset Management Limited
Osaka Gas Energy Supply and Trading Pte Limited (“Osaka Gas”)
The Hong Kong Association of Banks
- Facilitating Hong Kong’s envisioned role as the key to opening up the financial services industry in GBA.
- Acted for the first and second Special Purpose Insurer (SPI) authorisation approval granted by the Insurance Authority.
- Advising an international financial institution on the launch of the Southbound Connect on 24 September 2021 and the Wealth Management Connect scheme in September 2021.
Latham & Watkins LLP
Simon Hawkins, head of the financial regulatory practice at Latham & Watkins LLP, is well-regarded for his non-contentious experience and is frequently instructed by financial institutions, as well as demonstrating expertise across developing fintech regulation, advising on blockchain, digital assets and electronic trading. The firm has expanded its contentious regulatory capacity across APAC and includes Catherine McBride, experienced working before Hong Kong regulators such as the SFC and the HKMA, and Hui Xu, based in Beijing and Shanghai, who consolidates the PRC-facing contentious regulatory offering.
Bank of America
China Life Insurance (Overseas) Company Limited
Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited (HKEX)
Bank of Singapore
OSL Digital Securities Limited and BC Group
Sanford C. Bernstein
SFM HK Management Limited
Kroll Bond Rating Agency Ltd
Toscafund Asset Management LLP
17 Itau Unibanco Y
18 Futu Holdings Ltd
Linklaters’ Financial Regulation Group focuses on offering an integrated practice with team heads Carl Fernandes, who recently re-joined the firm from Latham & Watkins LLP, and Sumit Indwar operating in non-contentious financial and contentious regulatory matters. The team acts on a range of upcoming regulatory issues including virtual assets and financial technology regulation, as well as the Hong Kong investor ID regime, and leverages the firm’s multi-jurisdictional presence to ensure cohesive cross-border regulatory advice is given to its roster of international financial clients.
Sumit Indwar; Carl Fernandes
Other key lawyers:
‘They are highly experienced and knowledgeable.’
‘Able to help clients navigate difficult situations with their calm manner and think through tricky situations with clients.’
‘Andrew Chung is highly respected and experienced.’
Australian-based firm, Minter Ellison, has a strong contentious regulatory offering focused on financial services in Hong Kong, garnering specific experience in conducting banking and financial products litigation and working with statutory regulatory bodies, particularly regarding competition law. The team has experience advising delisted companies undergoing allegations of misconduct, and regularly advises financial regulators. David Morrison, practice head, has a wealth of experience with corporate, regulatory and securities litigation, demonstrating the contentious strength of the team.
Other key lawyers:
Desmond Liaw; Nathan Dentice; Desmond Yu
‘Caring, knowledgeable, professional and patient.’
‘Minter Ellison has an outstanding Regulatory practice. The team is very capable and knowledgeable and their level of service is always of a high standard. A very efficient and effective outfit.’
‘Desmond Liaw is an excellent lawyer who has a strong knowledge in this area of the law. He provides practical and commercial advice and his work product is of a high quality, which is always delivered in timely manner. Highly recommended.’
‘Very professional. Understand our industry like the back of their hands and always willing to offer extra advice and services.’
‘Nathan Dentice is the most personable lawyer I have met. He’s attentive to details and very patient with his clients. Albeit he’s very knowledgeable in the field and has profound experience, he still speaks the language of his clients and communicates well at all levels.’
‘The Minter Ellison team is diverse with deep roots in the Hong Kong market and with a number of very experienced individuals in the regulatory field at partner level.’
‘David Morrison, Nathan Dentice and Desmond Yu all provide excellent, practical advice to clients facing regulatory problems with the SFC and other regulators.’
The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Financial Reporting Council
The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Noble Group Limited
China Gas Industry Investment Holdings Company Limited
BHP International Markets
Shine Grace Investment Limited
The Financial Services Regulatory team at Stephenson Harwood acts for a range of clients in relation to investigations, enforcement actions and disciplinary actions that they face. The team is focused on adapting to the increasing influence that technology is having in this area and as a result, is advising major virtual banks across Hong Kong and several unicorn fintech companies. The team is led by Katherine Liu and Ian Childs, dealing with both non-contentious and contentious work respectively.
Katherine Liu; Ian Childs
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provides a very high quality service on all matters related to HK regulations and how to navigate this ever-changing landscape. Furthermore, they keep their clients abreast of upcoming changes and assist on how it may impact the business and provide pragmatic solutions.’
‘Katherine Liu, partner, and Conrad Lam, associate, are our go-to lawyers for all matters related to HK legal and regulations. They are very well versed in HK regulatory matters across a range of topics.’
Airstar Bank Limited
Airwallex (Hong Kong) Limited
Ant Group Co., Ltd.
China Construction Bank (Asia) Corporation Limited
Futu Securities International (Hong Kong) Limited
Futu Lending Limited
Svenska Handelsbanken AB
Kennedys acts for a range of clients including insurance, finance and accounting companies. The commercial dispute and regulatory team, led by Rudy Chung, has experience across regulatory investigations and acts on several contentious and non-contentious advisory issues. Chung specialises in contentious matters relating to commercial, construction and engineering disputes, regulatory insurance and financial services matters.