Leading Individuals

Firms To Watch: Financial services regulatory: foreign firms

Reed Smith LLP is increasingly active in the financial technologies space, with expertise in risk management and cybersecurity, outsourcing contracts, blockchain and cryptocurrency. The team is jointly led by counsels Hagen Rooke and Charmian Aw.

Financial services regulatory: foreign firms in Singapore

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance‘s financial regulatory group sits within the banking and finance team, with experience advising at the forefront of financial transactions. It combines its advisory practice with regulatory lawyers who stand out for handling high-stakes regulatory investigations. The technology group is well integrated with the regulatory team, enabling it to assist with fintech regulation, as well as issues around data privacy and confidentiality. Lena Ng heads the financial regulatory group and has significant experience in licensing, exemptions and conduct of business matters. Disputes lawyer Kabir Singh is known for cross-border investigations, including in relation to anti-money laundering. Janice Goh has experience in benchmark- and exchange rate-related investigations. Senior associate Mae Yen Teoh is increasingly known for derivatives and financial products regulation. Sheena Teng is a professional support lawyer with experience across banking regulation, including in relation to Singapore banking reforms.

Practice head(s):

Lena Ng; Kabir Singh; Nish Shetty; Janice Goh

Other key lawyers:

Mae Yen Teoh; Luke Chen; Yaru Chia; Allison Tan; Sheena Teng

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s financial services regulatory practice is closely linked to the firm’s office network in the APAC region, enabling it to provide a joined-up cross-border service to financial institutions. The group also benefits from the firm’s strong white-collar criminal defence team, which is regularly instructed in regulatory investigations and enforcement actions. Fintech is another area of expertise, and the team handles compliance and licensing matters. The key figure in Singapore is Natalie Curtis, who advises the industry and financial markets associations on Singaporean financial guidelines on individual accountability and conduct.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Curtis

Testimonials

‘Herbert Smith Freehills continues to impress with its “holistic” financial services practice which combines both advisory and litigation capabilities. This “one stop” service allows financial institutions to go to HSF for advice with managing regulatory investigations, disputes and implementation of regulatory change. The firm stands head and shoulders above other international firms with its singular focus on meeting client needs in a commercial and strategic manner.’

‘Natalie Curtis in Singapore is a key relationship partner and has led the practice well in difficult times.’

‘Good understanding of regulator’s approaches, the background to changes and the market player’s responses.’

‘Natalie Curtis is very measured and gives practical advice that is targeted to the facts and context.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a leading international commercial bank on a regulatory investigation in relation to alleged breaches of AML/CFT regulations.
  • Advising a leading payment services provider (merchant acquisition, e-money issuance, account issuance and cross border money transfer) on its application for a payment services licence and the expansion of its business in various Asia jurisdictions, including Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
  • Advising a number of global financial institutions on culture, conduct, corporate governance, senior manager accountability and their implementation of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Guidelines on Individual Accountability and Conduct.

Linklaters

Linklaters houses regulatory lawyers with expertise in the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious issues faced by financial institutions, including their establishment and M&A transactions. The group also has expertise in licensing and compliance, as well as investigations and regulatory litigation and arbitration. The team has held a QFLP licence since 2013,  hence it one of the firms that is enabled to practice Singapore law. Peiying Chua heads the advisory practice, while Jelita Pandjaitan leads on regulatory disputes. Managing associate Selwyn Lim is increasingly known for his expertise in fintech and payment services regulations.

Practice head(s):

Peiying Chua; Jelita Pandjaitan

Other key lawyers:

Selwyn Lim; Teddy Tang

Testimonials

‘Solid and reliable local team. Very client focused. ’

‘Peiying Chua is very client focused. Teddy Tang is a strong associate.’

Peiying’s team is able to give sharp and practical advice which is not found in the black-and-white of the law. The team’s experience with regulatory and licensing issues comes through and we also appreciate the team’s ability to meet sometimes very demanding deadlines by our business.’

Peiying Chua is a pragmatic lawyer with genuine interest in the company’s business strategy in order to provide the most relevant advice and approach.’

Linklaters’ Singapore regulatory practice is diverse, responsive and able to get to the crux of a problem swiftly. They collaborate well with other offices to ensure that advice is consistent, or they provide the nuanced differences between rule sets in different regimes.’

Peiying Chua is very knowledgeable and is a delight to work with. She also presents sensible solutions to issues that arise. Particularly when regulatory expectations are vague, she advocates sensible parameters for adoption for a firm.’

Key clients

ACCESS

The Siam Commercial Bank

Dalian Commodity Exchange

Standard Chartered Bank

JP Morgan

Citibank

UBS

HSBC

RBS

Credit Suisse

Morgan Stanley

Barclays

UOB

OCBC

KKR

Nomura

JOHCM

Microsoft

Trumid Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Trumid Holdings LLC, a fintech company, on the applicable regulatory requirements in relation to its joint venture with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Hillhouse to launch an electronic Asian bond trading platform, Trumid XT. Powered by advanced technology and rich analytics, Tumid XT will connect the commercial footprint and liquidity from SGX’s Bond Pro and Trumid’s Market Center in the United States to provide a robust network for trading of Asian fixed income.

Norton Rose Fulbright

At Norton Rose Fulbright, the international financial services regulatory practice handles regulatory issues across south east Asia, advising clients on issues such as regulatory change, enforcement and investigations, compliance and market conduct issues. The group also assists with the regulatory aspects of financial institutional M&A. Singapore managing partner Yu-En Ong heads the team, and is an expert in structured finance. Stella Cramer is a TMT lawyer, often instructed on fintech regulation and issues relating to blockchain. Anna Tipping  is an insurance-sector regulatory specialist, while Colin Rice  takes the lead on derivatives and financial markets issues.

Practice head(s):

Yu-En Ong

Other key lawyers:

Stella Cramer; Anna Tipping; Colin Rice; Wilson Ang

Testimonials

‘Good collaboration and experience’

‘technical knowledge and commercial savvy’

NRF has consistently demonstrated their strong expertise in insurance law. I really appreciate their practical approach to issues and providing real workable solutions to address problems that we face and open to sharing their experiences with us.’

Anna Tipping is one of my go-to legal experts for insurance law. Very insightful and I like her candour in addressing problems. I don’t have to second guess.’

Key clients

AXA

Singlife

BNP Paribas

Standard Chartered Bank

CA-CIB

HSBC

CBA

OCBC

Factory Mutual

Citibank

DBS

Macquarie

United Overseas Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium, led by Singapore Life (Singlife) and TPG, on the combination of Singlife with Aviva Singapore for SG$3.2bn.
  • Acted for Lion Value, a Switzerland based investment and asset management company in support of its plans to expand into the Asian private wealth management market.
  • Assisted AFIN with the establishment of a ground-breaking technology marketplace and testing sandbox platform hosted in Singapore. This connects FinTech application developers and financial institutions in emerging markets in the ASEAN region and enables the trial of new FinTech applications.

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy‘s standalone financial services regulatory team is well integrated into the firm’s international office network, and regularly works with colleagues in Hong Kong and Sydney. Notable areas of expertise include payment services issues and digital banking. Practice head Shuhui Kwok focuses on financial institution market entry, in addition to day-to-day compliance issues for banks. Senior associate Ang Yu Jia is another core team member.

Practice head(s):

Shuhui Kwok

Other key lawyers:

Ang Yu Jia

Testimonials

‘The financial services regulatory team led by Kwok Shuhui has deep expertise on the regulatory regime and is able to quickly and concisely identify any regulatory concerns for a proposed business. I believe the team’s experience in advising on several international financial services regulatory matters benefits any financial institution looking to conduct business across borders.’

‘Kwok Shuhui is a stand-out partner who is very responsive to queries, has deep sector expertise for financial and payment services, and prompt in providing requested advice.’

Key clients

Greenland Financial

ACR Capital Holdings Pte. Ltd.

DBS Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Greenland Financial Holdings Group Co. Ltd (Greenland), a subsidiary of the Greenland Group, who have led a consortium on its successful application for a digital wholesale bank (DWB) licence in Singapore.
  • Advised ACR Capital Holdings and its major shareholders on the sale of Asia Capital Reinsurance Group, a pan-Asian reinsurance platform.

Simmons & Simmons

The regulatory practice at Simmons & Simmons brings together significant expertise in TMT, financial institutions, asset management and investment funds, assisting clients with their operations in Singapore. The regulatory and digital business is led by Grace Chong, a former in-house counsel at the MAS, and specialist in fintech regulations and ESG issues. Jason Valoti is an expert in structured products and derivatives regulation and Jek-Aun Long takes the lead on funds regulation. In July 2021, the team was joined by financial markets expert Sonia Lim from Linklaters.

Practice head(s):

Grace Chong; Jason Valoti; Jek Aun Long

Testimonials

Grace Chong is one of the best crypto regulatory lawyers in Singapore and is very responsive and personable.’

Their team provides important advice on regulatory change, guiding their clients through complex and constantly evolving regulatory changes in the industry. · Their team is made up for both lawyers and technology experts, data scientists and legal design specialists, helping clients solve their legal operations as well as address complex challenges. They are the one-stop-shop for regulatory advice and support.

Work highlights