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AML & Financial Services Regulatory

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In a recent decision, the Superintendence of Companies determined that an Excel-based risk matrix of the Self-Control and Integral Management System of Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Financing of the Proliferation of matrixes and of the Business Transparency and Ethics Program was insufficient because it did not allow to individualize, measure, assess and mitigate the risks identified.

On 10 April 2024, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (CFA), Hong Kong’s highest court, delivered its judgment in Tam Sze Leung & Ors v Commissioner of Police [2024] HKCFA 8, affirming the validity of the ‘No Consent Regime’ (“Regime”) of the Hong Kong Police. The Regime encompassed a practice of issuing “Letters of No Consent” to financial institutions for customer accounts that contain suspected proceeds of crime, thereby triggering informal freezes on these accounts.

Our popular Annual Compliance Conference, which attracts over 4,000 in-house senior legal and compliance professionals every year from across the world, will be taking place from 30 April – 6 June. We will be delivering our cutting-edge insights and guidance virtually on key global compliance, investigations and ethics trends.

Across jurisdictions, we see a rising trend towards more active ESG enforcement and litigation. In our The Year Ahead: Global Disputes Forecast 2024, nearly three-quarters (73%) of the respondents said that environmental, social and governance disputes presented as the top risks to their organizations in the coming year.
In this client alert, we provide a high-level overview of the key trends and developments in ESG enforcement and litigation in Singapore in three areas: greenwashing, employment law and anti-money laundering (AML).

On 15 December 2023, the Federal Council adopted a draft Investment Screening Act (the “D-ISA”). To date, Switzerland has no overarching regulation for the review of foreign investments as prevalent in other countries. The D-ISA intends to introduce sector-specific investment control in Switzerland to prevent takeovers of Swiss companies operating in critical sectors by foreign state-controlled investors (public or private investors that are directly or indirectly controlled by a state) if these takeovers endanger or threaten public order or security in Switzerland.

Financial institutions face growing exposure over greenwashing. Sustainability-related communications range from the publication of nonfinancial statements to the referencing of such terms in financial product names. This guide considers what is greenwashing, the developing legal landscape and how financial institutions may mitigate the risk of reputational damage.

On 12 March 2024, the Australian Government released exposure draft legislation on Buy Now, Pay Later products (“BNPLs”) for public consultation. This follows the Government’s previous consultation on the regulatory framework for BNPLs, and growing calls to regulate the BNPL industry in order that these products might have similar or the same protections that exist for consumer credit products in Australia.

On 28 March 2024, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a response paper to feedback received on the repeal of the regulatory regime for registered fund management companies (RFMC).

MAS targets to repeal the RFMC regime on 1 August 2024. Existing RFMCs intending to continue with regulated fund management activity after this date must apply to be a licensed fund management company restricted to serving accredited and institutional investors.

The Entertainment Complex Policy Parliamentary Committee has considered and endorsed the draft Entertainment Complex Bill, B.E. (“Entertainment Complex Bill”), a concept initiated many years ago. The Entertainment Complex Bill aims to facilitate the establishment of entertainment complexes that include casinos. This has been passed to the House of Representatives in March 2024.

The National Executive Power issued Decree No. 4924 on 21 February 2024, which exonerates the following from paying the Large Financial Transactions Tax (LFTT): (i) debits that generate the purchase, sale or transfer of securities issued or guaranteed by the Republic or the Central Bank of Venezuela, (ii) debits or withdrawals related to the payment of their capital or interest, and (iii) securities traded in different stock exchanges or the agricultural stock exchange, made in a currency other than the legal tender.