Financial services regulatory: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

According to one client, Allen & Gledhill LLP has ‘the best financial services and regulatory team in Singapore‘, with a team comprising non-contentious regulatory lawyers and disputes experts. On the advisory front, the group is regularly instructed on licensing and conduct of business issues, in addition to assisting financial institutions with corporate transactions. The contentious team handles regulatory investigations, enforcement matters, as well as defending clients in anti-money laundering and fraud cases. The department is co-led by Francis Mok and Karen Tiah. Adrian Ang is a key name for fintech regulation and he also takes the lead in matters involving ESG.

Practice head(s):

Francis Mok; Karen Tiah

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Ang; Aaron Lee; Catherine Neo

Testimonials

‘The depth of their knowledge, experience, relationship with regulators, and awareness of market practice are unparalleled.’

‘Karen Tiah is a first pick and stands out for her technical expertise and solution-oriented approach. Catherine Neo is also one to look out for – reliable, balanced, and always approachable.’

‘A&G’s FinTech Practice is on top of developments in technology, and brings that expertise to clients in the financial markets. The webinars and articles shared by the firm on key topics are informative and provide a good background for a better understanding in this new area of law. ’

‘Adrian Ang has a wealth of knowledge in the crypto-asset space, and is able to help clients bridge the old and new worlds effortlessly.’

‘Allen and Gledhill is very flexible in providing services that fit our need as a start up. it helps us with corporate filings, as well as our financial regulatory need. As a financial service company, we always have added requirements by MAS. Many corporate matters have financial regulatory implications. A&G being a full service law firm, always provides us with comprehensive advice and we can rest assure that issues are considered from all angles and the advice we are provided are complete. Billing is also flexible enough to help with our limited budget. For discrete projects A&G would offer flat rates to help with our resource allocation. ’

‘Allen and Gledhill is our go to firm for any regulatory questions. We can always expect the most up to date information, policy reasons behind the regulatory requirements and how we can comply in a practical way. Adrian Ang, who is the partner we work with the most and is always knowledgeable and we do not feel that we pay him to spend time of research. He usually can offer very good advice quickly. He also has extensive experience working with MAS and can provide us with the most efficient and practical approach on our regulatory compliance needs.’

‘We have worked with Allen and Gledhill’s partner Adrian Ang on our company’s fund management regulatory matters. Adrian led his team well to provide us the most efficient and effective solutions. We believe Allen and Gledhill has the best local knowledge/talents and practice in Singapore. ’

‘Adrian Ang’s experience and professionalism is outstanding. He takes time to truly understand our business model and provides well thought through commercial solutions to regulatory issues that we may face. He does this quickly and efficiently. Adrian remains the leading financial regulatory lawyer in Singapore and thoroughly deserves his sterling reputation in the market.’

‘Allen & Gledhill (A&G) has the best financial services and regulatory team in Singapore. They are blessed with a deep bench of impressive lawyers including Adrian Ang and Lawrence Low who provide consistently excellent, solutions-focused advice and first class service. ’

‘The team, largely driven by the quality of the partners, are very experienced in handling regulatory matters. Their knowledge of the regulations in the financial services industry has not only great depth but breadth too. One of their key capabilities would be providing sound legal advice which takes into consideration all relevant factors, related regulations and also regulatory expectation. I have great confidence in the quality of their work.’

‘Karen Tiah has been a valued partner of my bank for many years and even of the bank I was at previously. She is a stand-out partner in her experience and depth of knowledge. When engaged to provide legal services, she is thorough and attentive to our needs. She is not only familiar with the regulations but also the workings of a financial institution and is therefore able to provide advice and solutions that are practical and commercially viable.’

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow's financial regulatory team advises all market participants, including funds, electronic trading platforms and money transfer service providers on the spectrum of regulatory issues. The group has experience handling licensing, documentation, obtaining waivers and exemptions, in addition to contentious issues, such as investigations. Stephanie Magnus heads the team, and is a specialist in fintech regulation. Eunice Tan provides banking and investment management clients with extensive knowledge in issues including regulatory approvals and FX. Ying Yi Liew is increasingly known for her work in the fintech space.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Magnus

Other key lawyers:

Eunice Tan; Ying Yi Liew

Testimonials

‘The financial regulatory services team is technically strong and provides sound advice. They are also approachable and friendly.’

‘Eunice always avails herself to speak with us and is very knowledgeable on the Singapore capital markets intermediaries space. She also readily offers practical advice to our firm. We have also worked with Stephanie for a long time and appreciate the deep wealth of knowledge she has on the Singapore financial services sector. She has provided us with great insights and has helped us ensure we are in line with our regulatory requirements. ’

‘Good coverage at the team level, and wide relevant expertise. Has deep experiences and good problem solving skills within the team, that makes them stand out. The financial services industry in Singapore is evolving, and keeping abreast with overseas knowledge is key.’

‘We have been working with Stephanie Magus since our inception 5 years back and continue to do so. She has outstanding knowledge in the field and she and her team continue to support us in our license expansion and others.’

‘Deep knowledge of the regulatory environment in Singapore. Provided valuable advice on Fintech regulations in the context of local and cross-border operations. Very familiar with the regulators ways of working and overall expectations from regulated parties. The team is highly responsive, well tuned to our requirements in terms of standards and timelines. Customer service had been outstanding through many years of work and various projects. ’

‘Stephanie Magnus – customer orientated and very responsive Ying Yi Liew – depth of legal knowledge, availability and overall understanding of our needs as a customer’

Our project has no precedent. This compelled the working teams to think innovatively to resolve various issues. In this regard, Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow displayed strong leadership in problem-solving, and devoted extensive resources to ensure that the huge investments vested by the stakeholders in this strategic project showed the expected potential and results.

‘The team is well versed in the Capital Market requirements where I am serving as Compliance Manager. They offer practical advise that can balance business needs and regulatory requirements.’

‘I have worked with Liew Ying Yi and I am impressed with her work. She is very dedicated to the work that she is engaged to provide. She will spend time to research, evaluate and provide feasible solutions.’

‘Client engagement is terrific, they always give more than asked for, their technical knowledge is top notch, their advice is always well balanced – not too academic and they always make sure it is commercial, they are comfortable to deal with and adequately staffed, and never fail to give sound, thought-through, and well informed advice.’

‘Their lawyers are warm and friendly, getting to know their clients on a personal level even in these fast paced and socially distanced times. They are quick to respond and deal with issues even off-hours, displaying a strong sense of responsibility and ownership. Their technical knowledge is impressive, and they do not shy away from answering questions definitively in a commercial manner.’

‘Baker McKenzie team provides responses in a timely manner and supports us with our queries.’

‘Eunice Tan is quick to understand our requests, accedes to calls on short notice and provides responses in a timely manner. Where she needs more time, she will usually inform us in advance as well. Her knowledge of local regulations is of great help to us when we seek local counsel advice.’

Key clients

8BIT (part of the 8I Holdings group)

Aberdeen Standard Life

Affinity Equity

Agoda

Airwallex

Alliance Bernstein

ANZ Bank

Ardian

Asia Wealth Platform Pte Ltd (StashAway)

Bank Pictet

BlackRock, Inc.

Blue Whale

Capbridge Platform Pte Ltd

Carlyle Group

CDH Investments

Charles Schwab

China Construction Bank

Checkout

CIMB Bank Berhad

Citibank

CJ Advisors

Commerzbank AG

Credit Suisse

Dayan Group

DBS Bank

Deutsche Bank AG

D-Risk

Dymon Asia

Eastspring Investments

EFG Bank AG

Euronext

Fidelity Investments

First State Investments

Franklin Templeton

Fullerton Fund Management

GCI Australia

Goldbell Evolution Network Pte Ltd

Goldbell Financial

Grab Holdings Inc.

HarbourVest

Hashstacs Pte Ltd

Havenport Asset Management

Hillhouse Capital Group

HSBC Holdings

iCapital

Invesco Asset Management

JP Morgan

Julius Baer

Keppel Capital Holdings

LGT Bank

Lu International

Mastercard

M-Daq

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Mizuho Bank

MUFG Bank Ltd

Nex Group Plc (formerly ICAP plc)

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Limited

Partners Group

Pine Bridge Investments

RHB Bank Berhad

Saxo Capital Markets

SCB-Julius Baer (the joint venture between Siam Commercial Bank and Julius Baer)

SBI Securities

Shareable Assets

Shaw Kwei & Partners

Societe Generale

Standard Chartered Bank

Strategic Value Partners

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Tencent

The Olayan Group

Transfast

UBS Group AG

Vector Capital

Warburg Pincus

Wells Fargo Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Goldbell Financial Services on licensing, regulatory and legal issues relating to setting up a crowdfunding platform using smart contract technology to allow retail investors to participate in offering loans to SME borrowers and ongoing advice on the loan documentation to allow loans to be crowdfunded to retail and accredited investors.
  • Advised Asia Wealth Platform (operating under the name “StashAway”) on its successful application to several Asia Pacific financial regulators including in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Dubai for a fund management licence to run a digital wealth management platform, and assistance with the ongoing expansion of the business including adding new products and service lines.
  • Advising Hashstacs, a local blockchain technology provider, on the regulatory issues around a blockchain platform that it has created to facilitate more efficient post-trade settlement in bond trades by utilising blockchain technology, and going regulatory advice as Hashstacs expands its offerings to support the offering of a native bond issuance, where the bond is issued entirely on the blockchain.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP's practice revolves around advising financial institutions on regulatory issues relating to financial products, including listed and unlisted derivatives. The group is also increasingly active in the payment services space, recently advising Singapore Telecommunications on a multijurisdictional matter relating to its proposed cross-border payments system. Regina Liew  leads the group alongside her deputy Larry Lim . Benjamin Liew is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Regina Liew; Larry Lim

Other key lawyers:

Benjamin Liew

Work highlights

  • Acting for Singapore Telecommunications in relation to providing multi-jurisdictional legal and regulatory analysis in Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia on the company’s proposed cross-border payments system that will allow users of an e-wallet provider in their home country to make payments to merchants acquired by e-wallet providers in foreign countries by way of a central transaction switching and financial clearing house entity in Singapore.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP‘s financial services regulatory department is known for providing regulatory advice to global financial institutions with operations in Singapore, bringing together expertise in market infrastructure, banking secrecy, anti-money laundering, outsourcing agreements and the marketing of investment products, as well as emerging financial technologies. The firm also houses contentious regulatory lawyers, with a focus on investigations and enforcement issues. Jointly taking the lead are Elaine Chan, an expert in regulatory compliance and M&A transactions involving regulated institutions; and Joy Tan, a litigation specialist with significant experience in regulatory disputes. Rosabel Ng, who heads the derivatives and financial products group, is active in the financial markets and services space. Sion Yoong Tian is also recommended for regulatory issues affecting fund managers and financial market infrastructure providers.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Chan; Joy Tan

Testimonials

‘Their responsiveness, thoroughness and ability to provide practical and clear advice even when involving complex issues.’

‘Jia Hui Chan stands out with his ability to provide practical and clear advice even when involving complex issues. Also has good knowledge of merger control regimes in other major jurisdictions as well as in regional countries which makes it easy to get guidance on merger filing requirements quickly. ’

‘Strong industry domain knowledge of blockchain, DEFI, NFT – so that the legal analysis becomes a lot more relevant without us having to brief them on the whole underlying technology & practice.’

‘Generally meticulous and solutions oriented’

Ability to work well as a team involving different teams/practice areas relevant to a matter.’

I rate their responsiveness, thoroughness and ability to provide practical and clear advice even when involving complex issues.

 

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP

Financial regulatory lawyers at Bird & Bird ATMD LLP sit in the banking and finance group, where they advise the firm’s banking clients on issues arising from the intersection between technology and regulation. The group is particularly well versed in payment services rules, as well as matters related to blockchain, open data, APIs and robo-advice. Heading the group is Kim Kit Ow, who spent time working in Singapore’s financial regulator office and in-house for banks. Senior associate Teck Chai Yap is another fintech expert with regulatory knowledge.

Practice head(s):

Kim Kit Ow

Other key lawyers:

Teck Chai Yap

Work highlights

  • Advised an e-commerce company in Singapore and its related companies on various arrangements in relation to its role as corporate agent and/or third party administrator with regard to several insurance products underwritten by general insurers and its dealings with several leading general insurers in Singapore.
  • Advising a lifestyle destination resort on their safeguarding arrangements and determining whether their proposed business activities fall within the regulatory ambit of the Payment Services Act 2019.
  • Advising a well-established asset manager in Singapore on aspects of a retirement-focused retail fund with key features such as level-specific safeguards and which also encompasses initiatives to promote investor education, technology transfer and global retirement expertise.

CNPLaw LLP

CNPLaw LLP's financial regulatory lawyers have a strong focus on emerging financial technologies, advising on issues relating to payment services, blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital token offerings. Li Fei Quek  heads the group, which includes associate Sean Tan.

Practice head(s):

Li Fei Quek

Other key lawyers:

Sean Tan

Testimonials

Strong relationship orientation. Ability to apply traditional knowledge as well as adaptability to help progress more cutting edge disruptive areas of legal practice. Very responsive to working within identified time frames.’

Loo & Partners LLP

Loo & Partners LLP utilises the expertise of founding partner Choon Chiaw Loo to advise on the gamut of Singapore financial regulations. Loo is admitted in England and Singapore, and is increasingly active in advising clients in the fintech and cryptocurrency space.

Practice head(s):

Choon Chiaw Loo

Testimonials

The time and effort and the attention to what is needed to complete the deal.’

Mr. Loo was extremely helpful in completing the deal.’

The team provides comprehensive support. Other than legal, the team provides their view from commercial, investors and financial points of view.’

The team at Loo & Partners provides clear and comprehensive legal advice with the latest knowledge of the laws and market practice. Their strength is particularly on communication, understanding clients’ needs and objectives of commercial deals, putting into real actions and giving a commercially making sense solution to issues.’

With his extensive experience in commercial practice, Loo Choon Chiaw gives concise and thoughtful advises on the regulatory issues. He is familiar with the securities and bank regulations and offers comprehensive yet clear solution to the capital market issues.’

Key clients

AB Value Capital Pte. Ltd.

Emmanuel Capital Pte. Ltd.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Shook Lin & Bok LLP's financial regulatory practice is led by Eric Chan, who leverages his stint as an in-house counsel at the MAS to advise new financial institutions on approvals, authorisations and exemptions, in addition to supporting existing institutions with compliance issues. Chan works closely with Agnes Lim , who has developed strong expertise in licensing applications.

Practice head(s):

Eric Chan

Other key lawyers:

Agnes Lim

Work highlights

  • Advised a blockchain and data asset operation company based in the People’s Republic of China on the legal aspects and compliance requirements for the application of a digital wholesale bank licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).