Singapore payments and fintech update

In this bulletin we cover the following key developments in the payments and fintech space:

  • Payment Services Bill: On 14 January 2019, the Payment Services Bill (Bill) was passed by the Singapore Parliament. When it comes into force, the Payment Services Act (as the enacted Bill will be known) will introduce two regulatory frameworks: a designation scheme which enables the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to designate significant payment systems for financial stability reasons, and a licensing regime which allows MAS to regulate a wider range of payment services, including cryptocurrency dealing and exchange services, in a proportionate manner depending on the scope and scale of the provider’s services.
  • Sandbox Express: On 14 November 2018, MAS released a consultation paper on Sandbox Express, which comprises a set of pre-defined sandboxes to complement the existing approached of customized sandboxes.
  • Digital Token Offerings: On 3 December 2018, MAS updated its Guide to Digital Token Offerings which provides general guidance on the application of the securities laws administered by MAS to offers or issues of digital tokens in Singapore.

For more information on these key developments, please see our full bulletin here.

Key contacts

Natalie Curtis
Natalie Curtis
Of Counsel (Herbert Smith Freehills), Singapore
+65 6868 9805
Grace Chong
Grace Chong
Senior Associate (Herbert Smith Freehills), Singapore
+65 6868 8059
Kenneth Lo
Kenneth Lo
Associate (Herbert Smith Freehills), Singapore
+65 6868 9827

Sandra Tsao
Sandra Tsao
Of Counsel (Prolegis), Singapore
+65 6812 1353

The rise of the crypto hedge fund: opportunities and challenges

The extraordinary returns generated by cryptocurrencies have led to a frenzy of investment activity and interest from investors. Several new crypto hedge funds have emerged, and cryptocurrency is fast establishing itself as a mainstream asset class.

However, numerous operational and regulatory concerns remain. While regulators are increasing oversight, established players and startups are moving to address the current gaps in infrastructure, control and compliance.

Read our latest article for Regulation Asia to learn more about overcoming the challenges to make the most of the opportunities of this new asset class.

Key contacts

Hannah Cassidy
Hannah Cassidy
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4133
Grace Chong
Grace Chong
Registered foreign lawyer (Singapore), Hong Kong
+852 2101 4138

 

Open Banking catching the eye of global regulators: Developments in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia

The banking industry has undergone rapid change in recent years with the rise of virtual currency, fintech and digital innovation challenging the status quo. One of the key developments emerging in the last couple of years is the concept of Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for use in the banking industry, or Open Banking. Continue reading

Bridging the FinTech gap: What dividend should we seek from regulatory cooperation across jurisdictions?

Technology-facilitated innovation in financial services, a diverse collection of topics which coalesces under the portmanteau term of “FinTech”, is increasingly in the sights of policy-makers, whether at global, regional and national or state levels.  Keen observers will have noted a proliferation of consultation documents, statements, warnings, speeches and more emanating from national regulators.  Some of these recent publications address specific FinTech applications. Indeed, there has been a veritable deluge of material on Initial Coin Offerings over just the past few months.

Meanwhile bodies such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the influential Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), and others, both within and without the traditional regulatory cohort, are making some efforts towards setting out (or attempt to setting out) some universal principles or truths which may address an increasingly gaping hole in the global regulatory policy canon.

We are at an early stage in the development of policy responses to FinTech, and it is perhaps unsurprising that globally agreed standards have yet to emerge. Continue reading

Singapore’s MAS issues Guide to Digital Token Offerings

On 14 November 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a guide during the first day of the Singapore FinTech Festival to provide general guidance on the application of the securities laws administered by the MAS, namely the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and the Financial Advisers Act, to offers or issues of digital tokens in Singapore.

This follows the MAS’s clarification on 1 August 2017 that an offer or issue of digital tokens would be regulated if these tokens constitute products which are regulated under the SFA. Our e-bulletin in August 2017 regarding the clarification can be accessed here.

In our recent bulletin, we highlight the key points in the MAS guide and set out our observations. If you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Asia team (below) or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Key contacts

Will Hallatt
Will Hallatt
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4036
Siddhartha Sivaramakrishnan
Siddhartha Sivaramakrishnan
Partner, Singapore
+65 6868 8078
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah Cassidy
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4133

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.