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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.

On 12 December 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it will proceed with the proposal to require financial institutions to conduct and respond to reference checks. The reference check requirements have been introduced following the MAS’ June 2021 public consultation on proposals to mandate reference checks.

On 28 December 2023, the Treasury and the IRS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding whether a debt instrument is worthless for US federal income tax purposes under Code section 166 (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations would update the standards under Treas. Reg. § 1.166-2 used to determine when debt instruments held by regulated financial companies or members of a regulated financial group are conclusively presumed worthless.

The last thirty days in September, the end of the US federal government’s fiscal year, is generally an important time to analyze enforcement activity by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission. In this short video, Baker McKenzie Partner Peter Chan, a former SEC Assistant Director of Enforcement, provides his insights regarding the importance of the timing of some of these enforcement actions.

The Monetary Singapore Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Infocomm Media Authority (IMDA) published a joint consultation paper, which sets out a Shared Responsibility Framework (SRF) allocating losses arising from scams among financial institutions (FIs), telecommunication operators (telcos) and consumers.
Under the proposed SRF, FIs and telcos will have to fulfill their respective anti-scam duties. Failure to do so may result in the FIs and telcos making payouts to scam victims for certain types of phishing scams.

Law no. 137 of 9 October 2023 introduced the offences of Bid Rigging (Article 353 of the Criminal Code), Interference with the Tender Process (Article 353-bis of the Criminal Code) and Fraudulent Transfer of Values (Article 512-bis of the Criminal Code) in the list of predicate crimes pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 231/2001.

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued important new guidance on receipt of market soundings in the latest edition of Market Watch, the FCA’s newsletter on market conduct issues. The FCA’s Market Watch 75 newsletter reminds buy-side firms that they have an obligation to independently assess whether they possess inside information from a market sounding that would prohibit them from trading.

On 4 October 2023, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco of the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new DOJ-wide policy that seeks to provide greater certainty as to the potential benefits to acquirers that uncover criminal conduct at a target company. The DOJ’s Mergers & Acquisitions Safe Harbor Policy for voluntary self-disclosures provides greater certainty to acquirers who self-report within the safe harbor period, fully cooperate with the DOJ in its investigation, and engage in requisite, timely, and appropriate remediation, pay restitution, and disgorge any ill-gotten gains.

Blockchain’s interface with traditional institutions and financial systems provides revenue authorities with a digital trail, and with the growing risk of tax evasion and fraud in crypto-investments, authorities are incentivized to pursue recalcitrant taxpayers. Aside from good governance considerations, the financial risks of tax non-compliance are high. This article looks at recent developments in tax regulations for cryptocurrency in South Africa.

On 22 September 2023, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) issued OCA Circular 335-2023, providing instructions for trial courts in instances where the prosecution seeks dismissal of criminal cases, based on the new evidentiary standard — “lack of prima facie evidence or reasonable certainty to sustain a conviction” — adopted by the Department of Justice earlier this year.