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Financial Services and Regulatory

As technology becomes all pervading in financial services, we have witnessed a rise in the need for “fintech” experts. The challenge for businesses seeking legal support in this area is to find experts familiar with the evolving technologies and trends, while at the same time ensuring the management of regulatory risk is not compromised.

The unfolding war of digital wallets and the tokenisation of card credentials provides a great example. The technology is impressive in terms of user experience and potential for data capture, but ultimately, the underlying product is a payment facility potentially regulated by the Corporations Act, credit legislation, industry codes and card scheme rules, all of which are evolving to keep pace with the technology.

HWL Ebsworth has Australia’s largest team of senior financial services specialists dedicated to providing legal advice on bank products and payment systems.

Our team’s broad perspective of products and financial services regulation is derived from our role as advisers to Australia’s largest banks, the world’s largest e-commerce companies, global card and payment platforms and the largest finance companies. We have assisted innovative start-ups to overcome regulatory challenges and rapidly compete with established institutions, and we have guided substantial and established institutions to enter the financial services market. Our team has assisted clients to achieve significant industry “firsts” including the first end-to-end paperless regulated loan contract, the first retail “peer-to-peer” lending business, the first mobile wallets, the first prepaid mobile wallet, the first multi-currency prepaid facility for airline rewards members, and the first Australian securitisation of wholesale automotive finance receivables.

In the context of a sector which is well serviced by experienced and specialised in-house legal teams, HWL Ebsworth has the unique ability to add value through the unequalled depth and experience of its senior advisers. This depth is also recognised by other major law firms who seek to complement their own capabilities by partnering with the HWL Ebsworth financial services team.

HWL Ebsworth has been recognised as the “Law Firm of the Year” for expertise in the practice area of Regulatory Practice for both 2017 and 2018 by Best Lawyers®.

EXPERIENCE
  • Major Australian bank: Advising on the regulatory aspects of its consolidation with a regional subsidiary;
  • Major Australian bank: Advising on implementation of Privacy Act reforms in 2014;
  • Various Australian banks: Advising on, and negotiating arrangements for adoption of the first mobile wallets;
  • Finance company acquisitions: Conducting due diligence and providing strategic advice in the two largest finance company acquisitions in the past 5 years;
  • Major Australian banks: Providing ongoing technical and strategic advice in regulator investigations and inquiries;
  • Major Australian bank: Advising on all aspects of cash logistics including negotiation of commercial outsourcing arrangements;
  • P2P / marketplace lending: Advising on the establishment of lending operations under the first fully regulated “peer to peer” lending platform in Australia;
  • Global e-commerce company: Advising on all aspects of regulation of payment systems;
  • Major Australian retailer: Advising on its alliances with co-branding partners for financial services including banks, credit card issuers and insurers;
  • Bank licensing: Advising on the conversion of a specialist credit card institution to a fully chartered ADI under the Banking Act; and
  • Global remittance businesses: Advising on all aspects of Australian payment system laws and AML regulation.