Firms To Watch: Fintech and financial services regulatory: local firms

Mike Chiam‘s arrival in early 2020 kick-started PDLegal LLC‘s fintech practice, focused on blockchain, cryptocurrency and payment services. Besides its capabilities in regulatory requirements and compliance, the firm is also well placed to handle fintech fundraisings and token purchase agreements.
Withers KhattarWong LLP offers a wide range of services to fintech clients, with a particular focus on venture capital, financings, investment funds, M&A and other corporate transactions. Led by Daniel Yong, the team is able to help clients navigate local and regional regulations affecting the financial services sector.   

Fintech and financial services regulatory: local firms in Singapore

Allen & Gledhill LLP

Rated for its ‘depth of institutional knowledge of regulatory matters and strong relationship with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)‘, Allen & Gledhill LLP is seasoned in the full array of financial services laws and regulations. Its diverse client roster – which features leading domestic and international financial institutions  – recurrently turns to the team for advice on the financial regulatory aspects of transactions, licensing issues and conduct of business requirements for banking, money lending, exchanges, trading platforms and commodity trading, to name a few. The practice often takes on an active role in consultation processes for new regulations and legislation in this space, and showcases further strength in contentious regulatory matters, compliance and investigations. Co-heads Francis Mok and Karen Tiah specialise in regulatory issues affecting the financial services industry. Commercial litigator Aaron Lee leads on investigations involving money-laundering, market misconduct and corporate governance. The firm is also recognised for its ‘ability to address a wide range of legal issues in the fintech space‘, ranging from venture capital investments, data protection, intellectual property and litigation. Highly regarded partner Adrian Ang, who possesses in-depth knowledge of financial regulatory matters, oversees fintech-related work with Alexander Yap, who is regularly retained by venture capitalists, emerging fintech companies, start-ups, blockchain firms and tech service providers.

Other key lawyers:

Aaron Lee; Catherine Neo


‘Adrian Ang is our go-to counsel for all compliance matters. He is always able to offer solutions that help us achieve our business needs while complying with all regulations. He draws from his vast experience with MAS and financial regulatory matters to offer the most sound advice on which we can always rely.’

‘Alexander Yap is highly astute and very much up to date/in tune with latest constructs/practices.’

‘The depth of institutional knowledge about regulatory matters and strong relationship with the MAS sets the firm apart. Heads and shoulders above the competition in this practice area. Karen Tiah and Catherine Neo are practical, solution-oriented and approachable.’

‘Ability to address a wide range of legal issues in the fintech space. Adrian Ang is knowledgeable and responsive.’

‘We rely on Allen & Gledhill (A&G) for all of our corporate and compliance needs. It serves as our corporate secretary. It advises us on all our compliance matters and represents us in all matters dealing with MAS. A&G is always able to offer practical advice that is considerate of our business needs and concerns.’

‘A&G always responds very quickly and concisely to any questions we ask. In particular, Adrian Ang is a very reliable and competent lawyer. Adrian offers more than cost-effective legal services with an excellent service spirit. He is also an outstanding leader.’

‘Excellent practical and commercial legal advice even in light of complex and/or frontier regulatory issues. Solid industry knowledge and marketing sensing.’

‘The Allen & Gledhill fintech and financial regulatory practice consists of highly talented individuals, mostly from prestigious UK universities. They have abundant experience in dealing with key regulatory bodies (including the MAS), as well as key clientele in the fintech space. As fintechs endeavour to pursue business models which are new (hence may not have a fixed framework in terms of regulation), while explaining and persuading these new businesses to regulatory bodies are challenging, the A&G team provides clear guidance in navigating Singapore’s laws.’

Work highlights

  • Advised consortium of financial institutions on the setting up of Climate Impact X, a marketplace and exchange that allows a customer to browse, compare and buy carbon credits directly from a curated selection of high-impact projects.
  • Advised the DBS group on the setting up of a digital exchange, enabling institutional investors and accredited investors to tap into a fully integrated tokenisation, trading and custody ecosystem for digital assets.
  • Advising HSBC on the Singapore regulatory issues arising from its acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of AXA Insurance Pte. Ltd.

Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow

At Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow, the financial services group is one of the first ports of call in Singapore for complex regulatory matters faced by international banks, fund managers, capital markets intermediaries, well-established corporates and a range of players in the fintech segment. Typical mandates for the practice, which enjoys a close relationship with local financial regulator MAS, range from licensing applications to investigations, policy-making matters and financial services M&A. In the fintech space, the group provides legal support to innovative start-ups, banks and other financial institutions in relation to novel products and business models. Department head Stephanie Magnus regularly handles the regulatory aspects of big-ticket transactions in the financial sector, and is also often engaged in mandates pertaining to regulatory approvals and compliance. Her expertise spans digital assets, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) models, regulated exchanges, cryptocurrencies and e-commerce platforms. Financial services regulatory specialist Eunice Tan is sought by clients in employee misconducts and investigations, licensing matters and approvals from the MAS. Ying Yi Liew is another name to note in the fintech team, where she acts for payment service providers, blockchain-based businesses, crypto-exchanges, crowdfunding platforms and BNPL providers.

Practice head(s):

Stephanie Magnus

Other key lawyers:

Eunice Tan; Ying Yi Liew


‘Eunice Tan is an exceptional lawyer with deep knowledge of financial services. She is commercial and solutions-oriented and has an excellent relationship with the regulator which is of benefit to her clients.’

‘Very strong technical lawyers with a very practical approach to providing advice tailored to clients’ needs. Also very good contacts with the regulator which allows issues to be anticipated.’

‘A willingness to understand the clients’ needs and not just provide a “cookie cutter” solution.’

Key clients

500 Startups

8BIT (part of the 8I Holdings group)

Aberdeen Standard Life

Affinity Equity



Alliance Bernstein

ANZ Bank


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


CIMB Bank Berhad


CJ Advisors

Commerzbank AG

Credit Suisse

Dayan Group

DBS Bank

Deutsche Bank AG


Dymon Asia

Eastspring Investments



Fidelity Investments

First State Investments

Franklin Templeton

Fullerton Fund Management

GCI Australia

Goldbell Evolution Network Pte Ltd

Goldbell Financial

Grab Holdings Inc.


Hashstacs Pte Ltd

Havenport Asset Management

Hillhouse Capital Group

HSBC Holdings


Invesco Asset Management

JP Morgan

Julius Baer

Keppel Capital Holdings

LGT Bank

Lu International



Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Mizuho Bank N

MUFG Bank Ltd

Nex Group Plc (formerly ICAP plc)

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 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 Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS); DBS, UOB and OCBC (SG banks); and Banking Computer Services Private Limited (BCS) on PromptPay-PayNow payment linkage matters between Thailand and Singapore.

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP has established a strong reputation in the Singapore legal market for financial services regulatory advice, where it acts for a variety of clients, including major banks, funds, payment services providers, digital asset exchanges and trading platforms, among others. The firm is a popular choice for fintech start-ups and more established players seeking specialised legal, regulatory, contract drafting and negotiation support in relation to crowdfunding and cryptocurrency platforms, digital assets, and BNPL businesses. Co-head Regina Liew stands out for her comprehensive knowledge of regulations affecting the financial services sector and involvement in the fintech segment; she maintains a broad practice covering advisory, transactional and enforcement matters. Rajesh Sreenivasan, who heads up the TMT group, draws upon his wealth of experience in technology, e-commerce and data protection to advise banks and other financial institutions in their move towards the digital age. Larry Lim, who has over two decades’ experience in the financial services arena, has been actively advising on a range of fintech matters, including the launch of cryptocurrencies, strategic investments, licensing and regulatory issues.

Other key lawyers:

Larry Lim; Benjamin Liew


‘Strong team – deep knowledge, good MAS understanding, flexible and responsive. Engages in problem solving to generate creative solutions and structures. Understanding of technology is there as well.’

‘Regina Liew – knowledge, insight. Takes the time to understand what the issue really is and how to then position the response appropriately. Does not just quote the law but will look at how to structure in response.’

‘Experts in payment services financial regulations.’

‘Benjamin Liew is excellent, always prepared to work on clients’ matters at the drop of a hat, providing practical and insightful advice on thorny issues to navigate unchartered waters.’

Key clients

ZhongAn Technologies International Group Limited

MB Technology Ltd

The World Bank / International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Avaloq Sourcing Asia Pacific (Singapore) Pte. Ltd

B2C2 Ltd

Singapore Life Singapore Telecommunications Limited

Wirecard AG

Coupang Corp.

Pace Enterprise Pte Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising Pace Enterprise Pte Ltd on its payment services licence application with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
  • Acting for Singapore Telecommunications Limited in relation to 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.
  • Assisted Travelex Holdings (S) Pte Ltd in the preparation and negotiation of an asset purchase agreement (APA) to sell certain assets of its global wholesale banknotes business.

WongPartnership LLP

WongPartnership LLP has long been at the forefront of the financial services regulatory (FSR) and compliance market in Singapore. Besides providing comprehensive advice on non-contentious matters – ranging from applications to the MAS for digital bank licences, to banking secrecy issues, anti-money laundering concerns and rules relating to the sales and marketing of investment products – the practice also fields dispute resolution experts who are able to assist in enforcement investigations. Recent areas of activity include advising several international banks and payment service providers on the implications of the new Payment Services Act 2019 (PSA). Elaine Chan, who acts for banks, fund managers, insurers, commodity traders, broker dealers and clearing houses in regulatory and transactional mandates, and Joy Tan, who focuses on corporate governance and financial services regulatory matters under the Companies Act, Securities and Futures Act and other regulatory statutes, jointly lead the FSR group. Another key contact is Rosabel Ng, who has in-depth knowledge of the Singapore regulatory framework for the regulation of financial markets. The firm also houses a multi-disciplinary team focused on the fintech sector, whose members collaborate on transactional and regulatory matters cutting across issues such as blockchain, tokenisations and cryptocurrencies, venture capital fundraisings and emerging digital technologies. Key individuals for this type of work include Sion Yoong Tian, Sin Wei Ong, Kylie Peh and Kyle Lee.

Other key lawyers:

Rosabel Ng; Chan Jia Hui


‘Elaine Chan, who heads the financial services regulatory practice, is knowledgeable and provides solutions that are sound, logical and client-centred.’ 

‘Solid understanding of industry and regulatory environment. Extremely sharp at identifying key issues. Offers practical advice.’

Key clients

Far East Organization

GuocoLand Limited

ARA Asset Management Limited

Lendlease Group

ESR Funds Management (S) Limited

Frasers Property Limited No Frasers Logistics & Industrial Trust

CIMB Bank Berhad

BNP Paribas

Ascendas Group

DBS Bank Ltd.

Standard Chartered Bank

Parkway Holdings

United Overseas Bank Limited

UOL Group Limited

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited

City Developments Limited

Perennial Real Estate Holdings. Pte. Ltd.

Bank of China Limited, Singapore Branch

Jungle Ventures No Northstar Advisors Pte. Ltd.

Openspace Ventures

Traveloka No

Doctor Anywhere Pte. Ltd.

BlockOne No Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation

Singapore Airlines Limited

KrisShop Pte Ltd

SGX No Wirex Limited

You Technologies Group (Singapore) Pte. Ltd

Vulcan Capital

Wavemaker Partners

Sea Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted ESR Cayman Limited, Asia’s largest real asset manager which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, in relation to the change of control applications arising from its acquisition of the ARA Group.
  • Acting for Coinhako, a Singapore home-grown digital assets service provider, on various matters, including its application to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a payment service provider licence under the Payment Services Act to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore.
  • Acting for Sea Ltd., a New York-listed consumer internet group headquartered in Singapore that operates businesses in e-commerce, gaming and digital finance across Asia, in relation to its successful application for one of two digital full bank licences proposed to be issued by the MAS.

Ashurst LLP

Fully devoted to financial regulations, the practice at Ashurst LLP routinely represents a broad roster of major financial institutions, including global banks, liquidity providers, international broker dealers and fast-growth fintech entities. Led by Evan Lam, a Singapore law qualified lawyer with comprehensive knowledge of local, regional and international regulatory issues, the team is particularly seasoned in derivatives and payments regulations, and a go-to choice for online forex and CFD (contracts for differences) brokerages. Department leader Lam boasts considerable experience in Singapore financial regulations, most notably OTC derivatives regulatory issues. Licensing matters, cross-border arrangements, conduct of business issues and novel transactions are among his core areas of activity. Associate Jermaine Ng is noted for her work in the OTC derivatives, fintech and financial regulations spheres.

Practice head(s):

Evan Lam

Other key lawyers:

Jermaine Ng


‘I have worked with Evan Lam on numerous occasions. One key difference between Evan and the majority of other lawyers that I have worked with is that he does not just focus on providing legal advice. Instead, he places an emphasis on finding solutions.’

‘They have a deep capability across the key markets in Asia and have quickly and readily brought this expertise to bear in support of a number of different issues. They take the time to listen and to understand our business, as well as the specific needs arising from a particular matter or transaction, and have always provided excellent support.’

‘Evan Lam is our go-to at Ashurst for financial matters, of both a transaction and advisory nature. He is always ready, willing and able to help. He is considered, commercial and responsive in his advice and support, and is a trusted counsel and sounding board.’

Key clients

Nomura (Singapore) Limited

Malayan Banking Berhad

CIMB Bank Berhad

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited

Credit Suisse

Tiger Brokers (Singapore) Pte Ltd

LGT Bank (Singapore) Ltd

ABN AMRO Clearing Bank

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Goldman Sachs

Cavenagh Law LLP

Benefitting from its formal law alliance with Clifford Chance and the firm’s vast office network, Cavenagh Law LLP is well positioned to act for financial services clients in investigations and regulatory compliance mandates across the APAC region. Best known for its strong capabilities in dispute resolution, the firm fields the ability to handle high-profile, cross-border regulatory investigations. Janice Goh, who specialises in contentious financial regulatory matters, is the main point of contact in the firm.


CNPLaw LLP is noted for its dedicated blockchain, cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings group, which is particularly adept at advising clients on the new Payment Services Act 2019 and digital token offerings. Li Fei Quek, who has a background in banking and finance law, is the main point of contact in the team.

Practice head(s):

Li Fei Quek

Other key lawyers:

Bill Jamieson

Key clients


Drew & Napier LLC

The fintech and payments regulatory group at Drew & Napier LLC combines deep technology and regulatory expertise with far-reaching corporate and commercial experience. Clients - ranging from traditional service providers to global tech, e-commerce and internet start-ups - routinely seek assistance in the structuring and implementation of innovative payment solutions and disruptive products. Recent areas of growth for the team include advising start-ups and multinationals on financial regulatory requirements with regards to cryptocurrencies and upcoming initial coin offerings (ICOs). Lim Chong Kin advises on matters involving the convergence of tech and financial services. Benjamin Gaw is another key individual for fintech-related mandates, such as payment gateways, blockchain-based digital investment platforms and ICOs, to name a few.

Practice head(s):

Lim Chong Kin

Other key lawyers:

Benjamin Gaw

Key clients

Dream Sports Inc


RootAnt Global Pte. Ltd.

Dedoco Pte Ltd

Blockchain Association of Singapore

Work highlights

  • Assisted Dream Sports Inc with its proposed acquisition of a majority stake, and an investment in a Singapore-incorporated target primarily in the business of operating an NFT platform.
  • Advised FQX AG on the Electronic Transactions Act 2010, the Securities and Futures Act 2001 and the Payment Services Act 2019 in connection with the client’s core platform product and potential expansions of its product and service offerings.
  • Advised RootAnt Global Pte. Ltd. on the applicability of the Payment Services Act 2019 on its blockchain-based supply chain financing platform.

OC Queen Street

Established in 2016 and a member of Osborne Clarke’s international legal practice, OC Queen Street is singled out for its work in the digital business landscape. The group is regularly retained by an array of players from the worlds of fintech, blockchain, cryptocurrency and payment services. Recommended for his ‘unparalleled‘ knowledge of the industry, managing partner Chia-Ling Koh advises on an array of regulatory issues, including payment licences requirements and exemptions for fintech companies and payment service providers under the PSA.

Practice head(s):

Chia-Ling Koh


‘The team is extremely professional and able to articulate the process in succinct steps. Their ability to walk the client through the situation, without doubt, is a breath of fresh air.’

‘Koh Chia-Ling is a consummate professional. His ability to articulate his views and his knowledge of the industry are unparalleled. He is also humble enough to listen when the need calls for it. Highly recommended.’

‘OC Queen Street LLC has a lean but highly knowledgeable team of fintech and FSR lawyers who provide clear, succinct and actionable advice, particularly in relation to blockchain, crypto and digital payments.’

Key clients

Ingenico Internaional (Singapore) Pte Ltd

AXS Pte. Ltd.

CyberBit OU¨

DeNA Co., Ltd.

Roadget Business Pte. Ltd.

Wormholes, Inc.

Proxymity Limited.

Nuvei Corporation

Crowell & Moring LLP

Fastco Pte. Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Provided regulatory advice to Cyberbit, an innovative crypto project which is building an alternative to Bitcoin by focusing on reducing transaction costs and reducing blockchain settlement time by creating a fast transactions protocol.
  • Advised AXS, a leading solution provider and operator of an electronic service delivery network (ESDN), on data privacy requirements for its service offerings.

Shook Lin & Bok LLP

Steered by Eric Chan, who has considerable experience in the MAS, Shook Lin & Bok LLP‘s financial services regulatory team handles the entire spectrum of regulatory and transactional matters in the financial services space, and often contributes to the development of related regulations in Singapore. Working in close collaboration with the banking and finance group, practitioners are proficient in compliance, business conduct requirements and licensing issues, and boast expertise in mandates involving anti-money laundering, data privacy and payments services. Financial institutions, venture capitalists, tech companies and asset managers often instruct the team in matters pertaining to capital raisings, M&A and cryptocurrencies. Andrea Ng leads on fintech-related matters, with a particular focus on the regulatory regime surrounding token offerings.

Practice head(s):

Eric Chan; Andrea Ng

Other key lawyers:

Agnes Lim; David Chong


‘Commercially astute, collaborative and solutions-oriented. Ability to provide creative solutions.’

‘David Chong is very experienced and able to propose creative solutions to difficult commercial issues. Highly responsive and good at stakeholder management.’

‘The specific lawyer working on my case was exceptional in terms of availability, knowledge and overall guidance.’

Work highlights

  • Acted as Singapore counsel for BigPay, an airasia digital portfolio company and a leading fintech in SouthEast Asia, on its Series A financing of up to US$100m from energy and telecom conglomerate SKGroup.
  • Advising Advance Intelligence Group/Atome Financial, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) fintech service provider, on its commercial partnership with Standard Chartered Bank that will include BNPL services and later expand to include other digital banking products.
  • Acting for Incredible Holdings Ltd, a SGX listed company, in its acquisition of Golden Ultra Limited for $14.6m and Billion Credit Financial Company Limited for $1m, as part of its diversification into the e-commerce business.