Financial services regulatory: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Allen & Gledhill LLP has a large and dedicated team to financial services regulatory work. It is at the forefront of Payment Services Act matters, digital bank licensing arrangements, and Securities and Futures (Amendment) Act issues. On the contentious side, the firm is active in anti-money laundering enforcement and sanctions. The firm has historically represented the major local and international banks, but has extended this to smaller institutions, fintech players, and commodity traders. Francis Mok and Karen Tiah both have over 20 years of experience in non-contentious regulatory work. Adrian Ang is rated for fintech-related matters and Aaron Lee is a key figure in contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Francis Mok; Karen Tiah

Other key lawyers:

Adrian Ang; Aaron Lee

Testimonials

‘They have a strong grasp of the regulations. Often, they are able to advise not purely on regulatory interpretation but also regulatory expectation and industry practice.’

‘A&G has always been able to give us advice based on actual experience and offer practical solutions.’

‘Francis Mok and his team are extremely reliable, insightful on regulatory advice and developments and most commendably, are able to provide very practical advice, taking into account and sharing industry practice and commercial realities balanced with regulatory requirements and expectations. They have a broad view of the industry trends and developments and are very responsive in providing advice.’

‘Francis Mok’s depth of experience and balanced insights ensure we are compliant with legal and regulatory requirements, taking into consideration commercial practicalities where feasible. He is very responsive and can be relied upon to provide in-depth advice even on complex issues.’

‘Francis Mok is the consensus ‘go-to’ lawyer for Singapore.’

‘Karen Tiah has in-depth knowledge of the financial regulations and the banking business as a whole. She is familiar with the set up of the bank, the client documentation used and the services and products that we offer. She is very dedicated and very accessible.’

‘With Adrian Ang’s vast experience in this area, we can always count on him for effective and practical advice and solutions.’

‘Adrian Ang is truly world-class and is the best financial regulatory lawyer in town. He has a razor-sharp legal mind and this is complemented with very practical commercial sensibilities. I have the sense that he is heavily invested in ensuring that his client gets the right results and works tirelessly to achieve this. Adrian should be the first port of call for any financial regulatory matter.’

Work highlights

  • Advised The Bank for International Settlements on the setting up of the BIS Innovation Hub, which will foster innovation and greater collaboration amongst the central banking community globally.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has a longstanding specialist team with extensive experience in listed and unlisted derivatives, and other financial products. The firm, which is highly credible in both transactions and advisory matters, has also successfully targeted new economy areas such as digital tokens, initial coin offerings (ICOs), payment systems, and digital banking licences. Moreover, it has a long track record in regulatory advice linked to the establishment and operation of exchanges. Regina Liew is very experienced in this area, notably in the regulation of derivatives and securitisation. Larry Lim is further noted for fintech-related matters, including cryptocurrencies.

Practice head(s):

Regina Liew; Larry Lim

Testimonials

‘Good breadth of work with other industry banks and thus able to give a good perspective on legal issues in the industry.’

‘Always able to pick up the phone and reach the legal partners for a discussion. Regina Liew is very approachable.’

Work highlights

  • Advised an all Asian consortium consisting of a Chinese e-commerce giant, a North Asian commodities conglomerate and a government linked trade platform company, regarding the application of new digital bank licences to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
  • Advised the client on a daily basis in relation to all aspects of its product offerings, including providing regulatory advice on compliance with all aspects of the new Payment Services Act 2019.
  • Advised the client on a potential breach and regulatory enforcement matter relating to trading in foreign exchange forward contracts, which are regulated under the Securities and Futures Act.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP's extensive financial services regulation practice covers traditional areas including licensing and approval applications to more contemporary issues centred on the broader fintech environment and digital banking licences. The firm continues to advise a large number of major financial institutions and corporates. Elaine Chan is at the forefront of advisory and transactional matters in this space, including fintech, cryptocurrency, and payment services engagements. Rosabel Ng leads the derivatives and structured products group and has deep experience of regulatory concerns in this area, and has also developed a strong focus on the fintech sector. Tian Sion Yoong is recommended for blockchain matters.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Chan; Rosabel Ng

Other key lawyers:

Tian Sion Yoong

Testimonials

‘Strong regulatory knowledge and analysis. Very good domain knowledge in blockchain.’

‘Elaine Chan has very strong legal expertise in fintech regulations.

‘Tian Sion Yoong has very good domain knowledge in blockchain technology and the accompanying legal issues.’

Key clients

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

EFG Bank

CIMB Bank

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

Temasek Holdings

Xfers

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow has deep experience in private banking and wealth management, particularly with international banks, Chinese and Taiwanese banks establishing a presence in Singapore. The firm is also active in digital transformation processes for financial institutions and in the growing digital token and blockchain segment in Singapore. It advised Shareable Assets, the Singapore-based FinTech company, on obtaining its capital markets services license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), enabling it to launch its groundbreaking asset tokenisation platform. Stephanie Magnus is a key figure in Singapore's burgeoning fintech segment, while Eunice Tan has been promoted to principal.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Magnus

Other key lawyers:

Eunice Tan

Testimonials

‘Whatever the issue we always get the appropriate experts to work with. We always get a quick response and the team has a good understanding of our company and the industry.’

‘Eunice Tan is outstanding in that she always carefully and clearly explains the situation and background of the issue so that we can fully understand it, she always has a quick response and she has a deep understanding of the financial industry and our company.’

‘Eunice Tan capably attended to our queries and tailored her recommendations for the scope of work suitable for our needs. She is also approachable and responsive.’

Key clients

500 Startups

Aberdeen Standard Life

Affinity Equity

Agoda

Airwallex

Alliance Bernstein

Ardian

Asia Wealth Platform (Stashaway)

Bank Pictet

Barclays Bank

Blue Whale

Capbridge Platform (now operating as 1exchange)

Carlyle Group

CDH Investments

Charles Schwab

China Construction Bank

Checkout

Citibank

CJ Advisors

Commerzbank

Credit Suisse

Dayan Group

DBS

D-Risk

Dymon Asia

Eastspring Investments

EFG Bank

Euronext FX

Fidelity Investments

First State Investments

Franklin Templeton

Fullerton Fund Management

GCI Australia

Goldbell Financial

Grab Holdings Inc.

HarbourVest

Havenport Asset Management

Hillhouse Capital Group

HSBC Holdings

iCapital

Invesco Asset Management

JP Morgan

Julius Baer

LGT Bank

Lu International (wealth management arm of Ping An Group)

Mastercard

Maybank

M-Daq

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

MUFG Bank

Nex Group (formerly ICAP)

Partners Group

Pine Bridge Investments

Saxo

Work highlights

  • Advised Shareable Assets, a Singapore-based fintech company, on obtaining its Capital Markets Services Licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, allowing it to launch one of the first platforms to offer fractional ownership in real estate investments, by issuing asset-backed security tokens utilizing blockchain technology.
  • Advised Goldbell Evolution Network, a member of the Goldbell Group, on obtaining its Capital Markets Services (CMS) Licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, allowing it to launch a new private debt investment platform.
  • Assisted CapBridge, now operating as 1exchange, with blockchain technology to be employed and approved by the MAS to obtain its recognised market operator (RMO) approval for trading of virtual securities with settlement of  securities performed by blockchain.

Cavenagh Law LLP

Cavenagh Law LLP is the Formal Law Alliance firm linked to Clifford ChanceJanice Goh is the key figure having been elected to the partnership in February 2020 and works extensively with Singapore colleagues in the international firm. She specialises in contentious financial services regulatory matters and corporate investigations, with notable expertise in insider trading, data breaches, and cyber hacking.

Testimonials

‘Very responsive and commercially minded.’

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP

Bird & Bird ATMD LLP is a growing force in the financial services regulatory field, particularly in the start-up segment. Like many firms, it has dealt with a stream of engagements linked to Singapore's new Payment Services Act. The group is also active in the fund management and private wealth space. It has worked in a series of Variable Capital Company (VCC) and ESG fund engagements. Kim Kit Ow is a former senior legal counsel at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and has spent time as an in-house lawyer at several international banks.

Practice head(s):

Kim Kit Ow

Key clients

LYS Energy Group

CNPLaw LLP

CNPLaw LLP has maintained its emphasis on payment services, blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital token offerings. The firm represents a wide range of new economy businesses, including fintech businesses and digital platform developers. Quek Li Fei has built an impressive recent record in digital token and payment services matters. Fintech specialist Mike Chiam has left the firm.

Collyer Law LLC

Collyer Law LLC has financial services regulatory work at the heart of the firm, with founder and managing director Azmul Haque and regulatory and compliance specialist Kevin Chua having a genuine focus and background in this field.