On February 21, 2018, the US Supreme Court decided that the Dodd-Frank Act’s whistleblower protections do not extend to an individual who has not reported a potential securities law violation to the SEC. The decision resolved a previous split among federal appellate courts and narrowed the protection afforded by the Dodd Frank Act’s anti-retaliation provision. Because the decision requires reports to the SEC as a prerequisite to gaining the protection afforded under the law, it will likely encourage more direct reporting to the SEC. Continue reading
US SUPREME COURT LIMITS THE SCOPE OF “WHISTLEBLOWERS” UNDER DODD-FRANK ACT’S ANTI-RETALIATION PROVISION
On 30 January 2018, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a circular to set out its guidance on the standards expected of licensed corporations on best execution (Circular). The SFC also provided further detailed guidance in its Report on the Thematic Review of Best Execution (Report). Continue reading
From 31 January 2018, UK authorities can use new and expansive investigative powers to require both individuals and corporate bodies to provide information as to how they acquired property. Known as Unexplained Wealth Orders (“UWOs”), these new obligations to disclose information can apply to property anywhere in the world and can be served on persons outside the UK. This briefing considers the legal framework behind UWOs, their interaction with other criminal and civil regimes, and the practical implications of UWOs on individuals, institutions and trustees. Continue reading
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
HONG KONG ENHANCES ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COUNTER-TERRORIST FINANCING REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
From 1 March 2018, a number of Hong Kong businesses and professions will be subject to enhanced customer due diligence and record-keeping obligations in light of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) (Amendment) Ordinance. The amendment introduces changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615) (AMLO). Continue reading
The High Court has found that documents prepared by a defendant in the course of an investigation into allegations by HMRC were protected by litigation privilege: Bilta (UK) Ltd (in liquidation) & ors v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc & anor  EWHC 3535 (Ch). The decision arguably departs from the reasoning in the controversial decision in SFO v ENRC  EWHC 1017 (considered here), where the court took a very strict approach to the question of whether documents prepared in the course of an investigation were for the dominant purpose of litigation. Continue reading
Welcome to the January 2018 edition of our corporate crime update – our round up of developments in relation to corruption, money laundering, fraud, sanctions and related matters. Our update now covers a number of jurisdictions. For the full update on each jurisdiction, please click on the name of the jurisdiction below. Continue reading
HONG KONG: NEW LICENSING REGIME FOR TRUST AND COMPANY SERVICE PROVIDERS TO COME INTO FORCE ON 1 MARCH 2018
The Companies Registry announced on 25 January 2018 that a new licensing regime for trust and company service providers (TCSPs) will come into force on 1 March 2018 under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615) (AMLO).
A new regime requiring companies to keep and maintain Significant Controllers Registers will also come into force on 1 March 2018, following the passing of the Companies (Amendment) Bill 2017 on 24 January 2018. Continue reading
There has been a significant increase in interest in, and the use of, cryptocurrencies in recent times. Cryptocurrencies are essentially de-centralised virtual currencies, which are not linked to any particular country, nor regulated by any central bank or monetary authority.
In late December 2017, the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) decided that the nation’s first dispute involving cryptocurrency merits a full trial. While this case does not involve questions of the legality of cryptocurrency itself, it involves issues relating to the manner in which such cryptocurrencies are traded. Continue reading