Financial services regulatory: foreign firms in Singapore

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance advises on the full spectrum of financial regulatory matters, and is noted for its expertise in the niche areas of clearing of derivatives, new regulated activities, licensing regimes and product definitions to the Securities and Futures Act for ISDA, FIA, ASIFMA and AIMA. It fields a sizeable team that is able to assist with high-profile cross-border regulatory investigations, supported by its network of global offices and its alliance with Cavenagh Law for representation in criminal and civil proceedings. Lena Ng leads the department and is 'a recognised figure in the market' for licensing, exemptions and conduct of business. Paul Landless is likewise 'a well-respected name' in the field of securities and derivatives; Kabir Singh and associate Janice Goh are the other names to note for anti-money laundering investigations. Nish Shetty chairs the dispute resolution practice. Senior associate Sheena Teng is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Lena Ng

Other key lawyers:

Paul Landless; Kabir Singh; Janice Goh

Testimonials

‘The team has a particular strength in governance and licensing (including cross-border licensing) matters.’

‘Paul Landless provides a lot of thought leadership in the fintech space.’

‘Lena Ng – responsive, practical, always up-to-date with great market knowledge and with the right contacts in the relevant areas.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising an international private bank on a global regulatory investigation into alleged payments made through certain bank accounts of its clients, in connection with the 1MDB scandal.
  • Advising a global asset management firm on anti-money laundering issues concerning foreign investigations into the tax fraud of its investors.
  • Advising a global bank, in its capacity as payment bank, on the wrongful deductions of an insurance premium charges that affected 22,000 customers.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP provides 'very good commercial, practical and up-to-date legal support' on contentious and non-contentious regulatory and compliance matters, particularly in the technology and fintech sectors. The practice has developed a niche offering in fintech-related work, which includes advising on digital banking, cryptocurrency exchanges, payment services, initial coin offerings, security tokens and blockchain platforms. Recently promoted partner Natalie Curtis is the key figure; her practice ranges from financial services licensing, senior management accountability, anti-money laundering regulation and compliance to cybersecurity and data protection.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Curtis

Testimonials

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s financial services regulatory practice has been actively expanding to cater to the growing emphasis on compliance with financial services regulations and the evolving landscape of the financial services industry. The team has regular interactions with financial services regulators in various countries and is able to render practical advice to financial institutions.’

‘Natalie Curtis is very helpful and constructive.’

‘Natalie Curtis has a wealth of experience in advising financial institutions on compliance with financial services regulation and in handling investigations. She exhibits a high degree of professionalism when interacting with clients and renders pragmatic financial services regulatory advice. More importantly, she is extremely responsive and prompt in her dealings with clients.’

Key clients

ASIFMA

Linklaters

Linklaters is a top choice for leading banks, including J. P Morgan, Citibank and UBS, on the full spectrum of regulatory matters; with expertise ranging from licensing and compliance policies and procedures, to anti-money laundering, corporate governance, insider dealing, crypto-currency and investigations. Recently promoted partner Peiying Chua 'always stays ahead of the market' and provides 'solid legal advice' to banks, asset managers, insurance companies, private equity firms and hedge funds. Jelita Pandjaitan leads the contentious offering, where her practice focuses on finance regulatory and financial products disputes. She is also able to advise on foreign regulatory and internal investigations and the contentious aspects of cross-border transactions.

Practice head(s):

Peiying Chua

Other key lawyers:

Jelita Pandjaitan

Testimonials

‘Expert team when dealing in complex issues relating to financial products and markets.’

‘Linklaters is by far the most impressive firm in this space. Their drafting style is crisp, clear and minimalist. From a regulatory perspective, the team has provided close support and commercially sound advice.’

‘Peiying Chua is a leader in her field of regulatory advice. She has the commercial acumen, presence and technical knowledge to support any level of business complexity. Peiying has an intuitive sense for what the client needs and the managerial ability to marshal adequate resources towards satisfying these needs.’

‘Peiying Chua is an outstanding new partner who is well connected in the financial industry in Singapore, including having very good relationships with the regulators.’

Key clients

ACCESS

Standard Chartered Bank

J.P. Morgan

Citibank

UBS

HSBC

Work highlights

  • Advised The Siam Commercial Bank on its joint venture with Julius Baer Group, providing a new platform which bridges onshore and offshore investment opportunities and wealth management for Thai clients residing in Asia.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is well-versed in the core financial services regulatory practices, both in Singapore and across multiple jurisdictions throughout the region. The multi-disciplinary team leverages considerable bench strength from its Asia-wide group of financial specialists based in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand, to advise on the cross-border aspects of regulatory and compliance issues and developments in the fintech, blockchain and bitcoin space. Yu-En Ong, Anna Tipping and Wilson Ang are the key figures.

Practice head(s):

Yu-En Ong

Other key lawyers:

Anna Tipping; Wilson Ang

Key clients

AXA SA

IFC

Work highlights

  • Assisting the Asean Financial Innovation Network, supported by the World Bank and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, on the establishment of a technology sandbox platform to be used by fintech application developers and financial institutions in emerging markets in the ASEAN region for the trial of new fintech applications.
  • Advising Standard Chartered Bank, RBS, OCBC, UOB and BNP Paribas as to whether credit default insurance purchased by them to protect against the risk of non-payment by obligors meets the legal requirements imposed by Basel III and the relevant local implementing regulations.