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.
Financial services regulatory: local firms in Singapore
‘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.’
- 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 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.
‘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.’
- 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'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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation
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.
Other key lawyers:
‘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.’
Aberdeen Standard Life
Asia Wealth Platform (Stashaway)
Capbridge Platform (now operating as 1exchange)
China Construction Bank
First State Investments
Fullerton Fund Management
Grab Holdings Inc.
Havenport Asset Management
Hillhouse Capital Group
Invesco Asset Management
Lu International (wealth management arm of Ping An Group)
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Nex Group (formerly ICAP)
Pine Bridge Investments
- 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 Chance. Janice 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.
‘Very responsive and commercially minded.’
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.
LYS Energy Group
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.