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Ed. No. 9

In brief

A series of briefings that take a bite-size look at international trends in different jurisdictions, drawing on Baker McKenzie’s expert financial services practitioners with local market knowledge.

This edition of Bite-size Briefings explores the regulation of crypto (or digital) assets across a number of jurisdictions: Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, the UK and the US.

We last reviewed the state of play just a year ago (click here) but, given the pace of development in the meantime, an update is now due. To give some context, according to the Financial Stability Board (FSB) cryptoasset market capitalization increased by 3.5 times in 2021 to USD 2.6 trillion (although it remains a small part of the global financial system’s assets). Moreover, institutional participation in cryptoasset markets as investors and service providers has grown significantly over the last year.


Key takeaways

  • Different jurisdictions remain at varying stages of development in terms of growing and regulating their markets.
  • Despite the efforts of global entities such as the FSB and the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the response by regulators has been disjointed.
  • The more advanced jurisdictions, having implemented anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing controls, are now introducing consumer and investor protection rules, including restrictions on financial promotions to ordinary consumers. The EU’s MiCA framework is notable for its holistic approach.
  • Of special interest, Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, which to date has refrained from intervening, is now debating proposed legislation to regulate the crypto market and protect consumers. 
  • Meanwhile, in the US, there is vigorous discussion over the need for and extent of additional regulation, with the White House’s latest executive order seen as likely to delay new measures, despite calls to act from the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Click here to access “Bite-size Briefings”.

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Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

Author

Stephanie Magnus co-heads the Asia Pacific Financial Institutions Group and heads up the Financial Services Regulatory Practice Group in Singapore. Stephanie is ranked Band 1 for FinTech in Singapore by Chambers FinTech 2020. She is also ranked as a Leading Individual for Financial Services Regulatory: Local Firms in Singapore by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020. She is recognised as a leading lawyer for Banking & Finance: Regulatory in Singapore by Chambers Asia Pacific and Chambers Global 2020. Stephanie was quoted in Chambers Asia Pacific for her "timely, practical and business-oriented" advice, with a "deep understanding of the regulatory regime." She is also recognised as "very business-savvy and brilliant every time," and is admired for her "very strong grasp of the legal issues from both a technical and practical perspective."

Author

Bill Fuggle is a partner in the Sydney office of Baker McKenzie where he is a leading adviser in innovative listed investment products, fintech and neobanks, financial services regulatory advice, fund formation and capital markets.

Author

João Augusto Gameiro became partner of the firm in 2018, when he took over the leadership of the Corporate Criminal Law group. As a defense attorney, he has represented several multinational companies and their shareholders and officers in police investigations, criminal lawsuits, administrative procedures, and congressional investigations on tax evasion, environmental crimes, crimes against consumers, antitrust crimes, anti-corruption, anti-counterfeiting, and money laundering cases. He has also worked as a legal assistant at the General Public Prosecution Office of the State of São Paulo. In addition, Gameiro has advised foreign companies regarding Brazilian criminal and compliance laws, performed due diligence focused on criminal, anti-bribery, and anti-corruption liabilities and conducted internal investigations on corporate frauds, corruption, and anticompetitive practices. Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

Author

Partner and head of Trench Rossi Watanabe’s transactional practice areas, Daniel represents shareholders, issuers, financial institutions and investors in a variety of operations, including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt public offerings involving enterprises from different sectors of the economy. He became partner in 2019. Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

Author

Luís Alberto Laboissière Ambrósio has more than 25 years of experience in financial law. He joined the Firm in 2015. He is a partner of the Corporate and Finance practice group. His work and expertise are focused on debt, both local and international. He has a wide breadth of experience in bank financing operations, capital market, project finance and debt restructuring, having participated in high profile cases. He was the main legal advisor of Bank of America, the largest financial creditor in the Parmalat's judicial recovery, which established several legal precedents, as well as for the International Finance Corporation - IFC, in respect of the first offer of debt securities in the Brazilian capital market by a multilateral organization. Luis Ambrósio frequently represents financial institutions and corporate clients in highly complex financial transactions. Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

Author

Flavia Rebello is a Principal in Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, Sao Paulo office. Trench Rossi Watanabe and Baker McKenzie have executed a strategic cooperation agreement for consulting on foreign law.

Author

Karen Man is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Financial Services group, leading the non-contentious Financial Services Regulatory practice. Her clients include global, Chinese and local banks, fund managers, brokers/dealers, money service operators and fintech firms. Karen is admitted to practice in Hong Kong, the UK, and Australia.

Author

Mark Simpson is a partner in the Financial Services & Regulatory Group in the London office where he practices in the areas of financial regulation, financial crime, and regulatory investigations. He is a member of the Firm's EMEA Financial Services & Insurance Steering Committee, as well as its Global Funds and FinTech Groups. He participates actively in industry bodies including the Alternative Investment Managers Association. He has authored a number of articles and other publications, most notably acting as a general editor of and contributor to the International Guide to Money Laundering Law and Practice, and A Practitioner's Guide to the Law and Regulation of Financial Crime.

Author

Amy serves as the Co-chair of Baker McKenzie's North American Financial Regulation and Enforcement Practice, which provides our clients with a full range of regulatory advice and enforcement counseling. Amy also serves on the steering committees of the Firm's Global Financial Services Regulatory and Global Financial Institutions Groups. Previously, Amy has served as chief litigation counsel at the US Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Philadelphia regional office and managed a team of lawyers overseeing a wide variety of enforcement matters.

Author

Jennifer L. Klass serves as the co-chair of Baker McKenzie's North America Financial Regulation and Enforcement Practice, which provides clients with a full range of regulatory advice and enforcement counseling. Jen is an experienced financial services regulatory lawyer with particular focus on investment adviser regulation and the convergence of investment advisory and brokerage services. She regularly represents clients before the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), both in seeking interpretative guidance and in managing examination and enforcement matters.

Author

Jennifer Connors is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Financial Regulation and Enforcement Practice Group. She represents broker-dealers, investment advisers, alternative trading systems (ATSs), private fund managers, financial technology (FinTech) companies and other market participants on securities law and market regulation matters.

Author

Shemira is an associate in Baker McKenzie's Sydney office. Her practice focuses on FinTech, corporate crime and financial services.

Author

Aaron Dauber is a Registered Foreign Lawyer and the Knowledge Lawyer for Baker McKenzie's non-contentious Financial Services Regulatory practice. He is responsible for monitoring and training on regulatory change, legal content projects and other knowledge initiatives to support the firm and our clients. Aaron's experience includes over 13 years' as an in-house counsel responsible for legal support to businesses across the Asia Pacific region including Japan and Australia with a global systemically important bank.

Author

Kimberly Everitt is Baker McKenzie's knowledge lawyer for Financial Services Regulation & Enforcement, covering the EMEA region, and brings over a decade of experience to the team in both knowledge and fee-earning roles. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Kim held roles specializing in contentious financial services regulation knowledge, and her fee-earning roles covered non-contentious regulation in the private equity and general financial services sectors.

Author

Richard Powell is Lead Knowledge Lawyer for Baker McKenzie's Financial Institutions Industry Group where he is responsible for legal content projects, training and knowledge initiatives. Previously he was a member of the UK Financial Conduct Authority's Enforcement Division where he advised on regulatory cases. He has also been an editor of Bloomberg Law's UK Financial Services Law Journal.

Author

Sek Cheong Yong is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie, Singapore office.

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