New regulatory trial grounds for fintech firms in Hong Kong – Regulators announce additional fintech sandboxes

New regulatory trial grounds for fintech firms in Hong Kong – Regulators announce additional fintech sandboxes Continue reading

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Regulators around the world become more vocal regarding the potential risks associated with ICOs

On 4 September 2017, seven major regulators governing the finance and technology sectors in China (collectively, the Chinese Regulators), jointly published an announcement prohibiting initial coin offerings (ICOs) in China.

The following day, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) also made a statement on existing regulations which could be applicable to ICOs and explained that digital tokens may be “securities” as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance, and accordingly subject to the securities laws of Hong Kong. The SFC also warned investors of the potential risks of ICOs.

The announcement by the Chinese Regulators and the statement by the SFC follow similar clarifications and announcements by regulators in the US, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Dubai, among other jurisdictions, about their respective positions on ICOs. To date, the Chinese Regulators have been the only ones to issue an outright ban. You can read our e-bulletin on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s position here.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority also issued a consumer warning on 12 September 2017 stating that “ICOs are very high-risk speculative investments” and investors “should only invest in an ICO project if [they] are an experienced investor, confident in the quality of the ICO project itself (eg, business plan, technology, people involved) and prepared to lose [their] entire stake”.

You can read our e-bulletin, which highlights the key points in the announcement by the Chinese Regulators and the statement by the SFC and set out our observations on the future of ICOs, here.

Key contacts

Hannah Cassidy
Hannah Cassidy
Partner, Hong Kong
Email | Profile
+852 2101 4133
Will Hallatt
Will Hallatt
Partner, Hong Kong
Email | Profile
+852 2101 4036
Karen Ip
Karen Ip
Partner, Beijing
Email | Profile
+86 10653 55135
Natalie Curtis
Natalie Curtis
Senior Associate, Hong Kong
Email | Profile
+852 2101 4185
Grace Chong
Grace Chong
Senior Associate, Hong Kong
Email | Profile
+852 2101 4138
James Gong
James Gong
Senior Associate, Beijing
Email | Profile
+86 10653 55106

 

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Filed under Asia, Europe, Fintech, IT & Technology, Middle East, Regulatory

MAS CONSULTS ON REGULATIONS FOR THE PROVISION OF DIGITAL ADVISORY SERVICES

In line with its recognition of the rapid expansion of and new products within the fintech sphere, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a consultation paper on 7 June 2017 on the provision of digital advisory services (ie advice on investment products using automated, algorithm-based tools, also known as “robo-advisory services”). The consultation closed on 7 July 2017.

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Filed under Asia, Cyber security, data protection and IT, Fintech, IT & Technology

Crowdfunding – regulatory headwinds on the horizon?

Crowdfunding has the potential to be one of the most positive developments on the financial scene in years, with the potential to ‘democratise’ finance and outflank conventional approaches to raising capital in some spheres.

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Filed under Fintech, IT & Technology

Fintechs and Regulators adapt to each other

Companies specialising in internet and new technologies (so-called Fintechs) continue to play a key role in the French economy (for example in developing credit activities, targeting in particular the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through lending platforms and crowd funding).

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Filed under Europe, Fintech

Thinking two moves ahead – how to get the best out of a fintech fundraising

Thinking two moves ahead – how to get the best out of a fintech fundraising. Rich Woods and Emily Naylor from the fintech team at Herbert Smith Freehills provide some tips on planning a successful fundraise. Continue reading

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Filed under Europe, Fintech, Fundraising and M&A, Regulatory

Bank of England launches fintech community and FCA publishes discussion paper on distributed ledger technology

In March 2017, the Bank of England FinTech Accelerator launched a new fintech community. The new community has three main objectives:

  • to share developments, trends and insights to facilitate learning within the Bank and across the sector;
  • to ensure the Bank is engaging with a range of fintech firms; and
  • to increase networking across fintech-related organisations.

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Filed under Cyber security, data protection and IT, Fintech, IT & Technology, Regulatory, Uncategorized

HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS LEADS ASIFMA MEMBER WORKING GROUP TO FORMULATE BEST PRACTICES FOR EFFECTIVE DEVELOPMENT OF FINTECH

The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) released on Friday afternoon its guide, Best Practices for Effective Development of Fintech. Its press release can be accessed here. Continue reading

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Digital Economy Act 2017: The pick ‘n’ mix assortment of provisions receives Royal Assent

The Digital Economy Act (the “Act“) finally received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017 and the final text has recently been published. First introduced in the House of Commons in July 2016, it has been the subject of much scrutiny and debate by both Houses of Parliament. With the General Election looming, the legislation was passed in a final sweep as part of the so-called “wash up” period before the dissolution of Parliament.

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Filed under Cyber security, data protection and IT, Europe, Fintech, IT & Technology

Fintech and competition law

As the surge of Fintech continues to gather speed, authorities around the world are watching with keen interest to see how fintech can change the competitive landscape across various sectors and markets.

Mark Jephcott and Adelaide Luke from the competition team at Herbert Smith Freehills discuss some of the recent competition law developments relating to the fintech sector and explore some potential competition issues and concerns that may arise in the near future. Continue reading

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