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On 30 January 2024, the UK government announced its first equivalence decision in relation to the new overseas funds regime (OFR). The government has granted equivalence in respect of the pan-EEA UCITS regime, meaning that UCITS funds established in the EEA can be marketed to UK retail investors once the OFR becomes operational later this year. The FCA set out its proposals to operationalize the regime in December 2023.

On 6 February 2024, the Argentine National Securities Commission (Comisión Nacional de Valores) issued General Resolution No. 990/2024 to modify the current restrictions on trading with marketable securities when using Bonds for the Reconstruction of a Free Argentina (BOPREAL).

China’s panda bonds market is gaining momentum and attracting great interest. The National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors’ recent move in granting licenses to three foreign banks to be lead underwriters for panda bonds is a positive signal of China’s further opening up of its financial market. In an interview with IFR Asia, Shirley Wang and Samuel He of FenXun, Baker McKenzie’s Joint Operation platform partner, discuss what lies ahead in 2024 in the panda bonds market and what it means for foreign banks and bond issuers.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) intends to strengthen the role of financial service providers in taking responsibility for consumers throughout the loan debt cycle appropriately and comprehensively. The BOT Notification No. Sor Gor Chor. 7/2566 re: Responsible Lending was issued by the BOT and announced in the Government Gazette on 27 December 2023, and became effective on 1 January 2024.

On 9 January 2024, the Parliament of Singapore passed the Significant Investments Review Bill (“Bill”).
This Bill strengthens the Singapore government’s regulatory toolkit for investments in local and foreign entities that are significant to Singapore’s national security interests and ensures greater regulatory flexibility in safeguarding Singapore’s evolving national security interests. At the same time, the Bill has been designed to align with international norms and preserve Singapore’s open and investment-friendly economy.

Almost two long years following the announcement of proposed rules revising the framework for regulating initial public offerings and business combinations of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted in a three-two vote final rules on the topic. While much has changed in the SPAC market since the SEC’s proposed rules were announced – notably a cooling in the face of regulatory and economic headwinds – the final rules largely enact the SEC’s proposals from March 2022.

On 28 December 2023, the decree which amends, supplements, and abrogates certain provisions of the Mexican Securities Market Law (Ley del Mercado de Valores) and the Law of Investment Funds (Ley de Fondos de Inversión), was published in the Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación), and entered into force on the following day to its publication, i.e., on 29 December 2023. The decree establishes that the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público), with the prior opinion of the National Banking and Securities Commission (Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores) (CNBV) and Banco de México, shall issue within a period of no more than 365 days, from the date of its publication, secondary general provisions, regarding sustainable development, in order to strengthen corporate governance, adoption of best market practices and gender equality in corporations, issuers and other participants that operate within the Mexican securities market.

The Doing Business in the Philippines handbook aims to equip both local and foreign entrepreneurs with a practical guide to navigating the ever-evolving business landscape in the Philippines. It provides information on the requirements needed when setting up and operating a business in the Philippines, including incentives under special registrations, taxation, employment, IP, dispute resolution, and industry-specific regulations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand has amended the requirements for offerings by foreign entities of Baht-denominated bonds and foreign-currency-denominated bonds. These revisions aim to enhance protection for investors and market credibility. The changes also mark the transfer from the Ministry of Finance of Thailand, which until now had the power to grant approval to foreign issuers for issuances of Baht bonds, to the SEC. The amendments came into effect on 1 January 2024.

On 8 January 2024, the Financial Information Unit (UIF for its Spanish abbreviation) issued Resolution No. 1/2023, establishing minimum requirements for the identification, evaluation, monitoring, management, and mitigation of money laundering and terrorist financing risks applicable to persons or legal entities that perform remittances within and outside Argentina. The Resolution is aligned with prior resolutions issued by the UIF for other regulated entities. Accordingly, the Resolution changes the approach from formal regulatory compliance to a risk-based approach.