June 8, 2017

Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail quoted in Reuters article titled “Singapore fines Credit Suisse, UOB over 1MDB-linked dealings, wraps up review”

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was quoted in an article published in Reuters titled “Singapore fines Credit Suisse, UOB over 1MDB-linked dealings, wraps up review”. The article was first published in Reuters on 30 May 2017. The article discussed about the fines imposed by Singapore’s central bank on Credit Suisse and United Overseas Bank for breaching anti-money laundering rules in transactions related to Malaysia's 1MDB scandal. Nizam commented, “While the fines imposed on UOB and Credit Suisse may appear low relative to the amounts that we see imposed by U.S. and UK regulators, they are substantive by Singapore standards.” He went on to share that “the presence of financial crimes is a reality and occupational hazard of major international financial centers. But when they are detected, the enforcement is robust and extensive - which is what MAS has done”. The full article dated Tuesday 30 May 2017 can be found in Reuters.
June 5, 2017

Head of Capital Markets Ch’ng Li-Ling gave her comments to The Straits Times on the addition of 29 companies to SGX watch-list after failing to meet the revised minimum trading price rule

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Capital Markets Ch'ng Li-Ling was quoted in The Straits Times article titled "29 companies added to SGX watch-list". The article was first published in The Straits Times on 5 June 2017. 29 companies added to SGX watch-list Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 5 June 2017 Author: Marissa Lee Twenty-seven companies were added to the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) watch-list on Monday (June 5) for failing to meet the revised minimum trading price (MTP) rule - making it 78 mainboard-listed firms in all on that list. Altogether, 29 companies entered the watch-list on Monday, including two firms that failed to meet financial entry criteria based on profitability requirements. But the revised MTP criteria was also a boon for two companies, which exited the watch-list under the latest assessment. Drilling rig owner Jasper Investments and petroleum exploration and production firm Interra Resources said they had been removed from the watch-list, as each of them had achieved an average daily market cap of more than S$40 million over the last six months. Companies on the watch-list must provide quarterly updates on their financial situation, and have 36 months to meet the MTP or financial criteria. Otherwise, they will face a delisting. The MTP framework, which took effect on March 1 last year, is intended to highlight to investors the issuers that may be more susceptible to excessive speculation and potential manipulation. But it drew fierce criticism from investors and traders, who saw the rules as damaging to stock values because many companies had been forced to conduct share consolidations only to see prices plunge again. In response to feedback last year, the SGX relaxed the entry criteria in December so that a mainboard-listed firm that maintains a six-month average daily market capitalisation of over S$40 million will not be watch-listed even if it misses the 20-cent minimum trading price requirement. But the number of firms on the watch list has not fallen. When the MTP was introduced last March, 57 companies failed to meet the rule. Now, it is 66. (The other 12 making up the total 78 on the watchlist are there for failing to meet the financial criteria.) Mr Leon Yee, a lawyer and independent director of Federal International, which was one of over 100 issuers that previously resorted to share consolidations to meet the MTP, said: "There is a mismatch between financial performance and share price performance in Singapore, because of the low liquidity of our markets. "As the years go buy, more companies will go on the watchlist, because there is only so much liquidity to go around. Until now, the regulator is still stuck on this. The fact of the matter is it is not working out for issuers." Ms Ch'ng Li-Ling, head of the capital markets practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, observed that "the rules are there for a reason." But she noted that the SGX had exercised discretion once, last June, when it gave 13 companies affected by "recent market volatility" more time to meet the MTP so none were added to the Watchlist then. Firms on the watch list have three years to meet the MTP or financial criteria. Otherwise, they face a delisting. Perhaps, more tweaks to the MTP rule are not out of the question. In April, Professor Tan Cheng Han, the new chairman of RegCo, which is taking over all of SGX's regulatory functions, declared that he would not be afraid to reassess sacred cows in the rules framework.
June 2, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing wins “CSR – Editor’s Award” at WealthBriefingAsia Awards 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing emerged as a winner of the "CSR – Editor’s Award" at the 5th WealthBriefingAsia Awards. We are honoured to be the only firm nominated in this category. The triumph marks another milestone for the Firm and RHT Rajan Menon Foundation to be recognised as a corporate citizen and a leader in this space. The awards night on 1 June 2017 was held at the prestigious Westin Hotel in Singapore. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has also been shortlisted by WealthBriefingAsia Singapore Awards 2017 in the categories of: Legal Team - South-East Asia Wealth Planning Team - South-East Asia Philanthropy Offering/Initiative of the Year
June 2, 2017

Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail interviewed by Channel NewsAsia on the financial penalties imposed by MAS on Credit Suisse and UOB for 1MDB-related transactions

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was interviewed by Channel NewsAsia on the financial penalties imposed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Credit Suisse and UOB for 1MDB-related transactions. The full interview was published on Channel NewsAsia’s Singapore Tonight segment on 30 May 2017. Following the MAS two year review of banks involved in 1MDB-related transactions, latest inspections on Credit Suisse and UOB revealed several breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) requirements and control lapses. As a result, financial penalties amounting to S$700,000 and S$900,000 were imposed on the banks respectively. Despite the complexity of the 1MDB case, the MAS has taken extensive actions to strengthen its AML regime. Nizam said, “While the MAS has promised a few things, it has revamped its AML laws over the last few years to prepare Singapore for the financial action task for evaluation. It has also formed a new AML enforcement department.” “MAS will not hesitate to name and shame errant bands and I think MAS has kept its promise,” said Nizam. To date, the MAS has imposed financial penalties amounting to S$29 million on eight banks. Moving forward, Nizam points out that banks may be required to bring more experienced compliance officers on board to spot red flags in advance. With higher systems and hiring costs, Nizam shared, “We already have seen a phenomenon where banks transfer some of the cost of doing customer due diligence back to their clients.”