January 23, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing ranked silver in World Trademark Review 1000 (2017 edition)

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has been ranked silver for its Prosecution and Strategy expertise by World Trademark Review 1000 (WTR 1000). Head of the Firm’s IP&T Practice Jonathan Kok and IP&T Partner Wun Rizwi were also recognised as Leading Individuals for Transactions, and Prosecution and Strategy matters respectively.   WTR 1000 describes the trademark practice of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing as “knowing what it takes to get signatures on the bottom line of high-rolling licensing and franchising IP deals for the Firm’s corporate clients.” With an extensive network that includes member firms in Southeast Asia, South Korea and Taiwan, it is perfectly placed to dispatch cross-border briefs with finesse. The ranking publication acknowledged Jonathan as a frequent legal commentator on IP Issues in the mainstream media and a familiar name to the business community. The “receptive and responsible transactional whizz exhibits in-depth knowledge in a significant range of industries”. Newly ranked Rizwi is a technology, media and telecoms sage with two decades worth of experience to his name and is responsible for the South Korean desk of the Firm. WTR 1000 extensive research process was conducted over a four-month period by a team of full-time analysts and involved nearly 1,500 face-to-face and telephone interviews with trademark specialists across the globe.
January 18, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail commented that banks are likely to adopt the MAS know-your-customer utility in an Thomson Reuters article

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was featured in an article published in Thomson Reuters titled “MAS outlines fintech initiatives and its approach to regulation”. The article was first published on Thomson Reuters Accelus Regulatory Intelligence and Compliance Complete. Source: Copyright © Thomson Reuters 2017 Date: 17 January 2017 Author: Patricia Lee MAS outlines fintech initiatives and its approach to regulation The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) looks set to emerge as the most technology-savvy regulator in the Asia-Pacific region, judging by the slew of financial and regulatory technology initiatives it has undertaken. In 2016 alone, MAS announced a number of financial technology (fintech) initiatives in line with its vision for a "Smart Financial Centre". It has since begun working closely with the financial industry, fintech start-ups and stakeholders toward achieving this shared vision. Some of the fintech initiatives which MAS has embarked on include a national know-your-customer (KYC) utility, using blockchain technology for interbank payments and cross-border transactions in foreign currencies, and enabling digital financial advice and insurance. Specifically on the latter, it is expected to issue a consultation paper on the governance, supervision and management of algorithms for robo-advisers. In June last year, MAS launched a regulatory sandbox for financial institutions and fintech players to test their innovations, and in July released guidelines on the use of cloud services. MAS also recognised the need to strengthen cyber security as part of Singapore's fintech agenda and it has invited the U.S. Financial Services – Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (FS-ISAC) to set up a cyber intelligence centre in Singapore, FS-ISAC's only such centre in the Asia-Pacific region. "
January 16, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth commented on the expected child maintenance guidelines for next year in an article published by The Straits Times

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Family & Matrimonial Partner Michelle Woodworth was featured in The Straits Times article titled “New guidelines on child maintenance expected next year”. The article was first published in The Straits Times dated 16 January 2017. New guidelines on child maintenance expected next year Expected next year, they're based on actuarial data and may hasten closure of divorce cases Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 16 January 2017 Author: Priscilla Goy Divorcing parents will have a better idea of how much they need to pay for child maintenance, when guidelines for this are expected to be released by early next year. The guidelines will be based on actuarial data on family expenses, giving family lawyers and judges a more objective view of how much is needed to raise a child. Currently, there are no such rules; information on children's living expenses is declared - and often inflated - by divorcing parties. With the move, lawyers expect divorce cases to be settled more quickly as the issue of child maintenance is one of the most acrimonious. The guidelines will be set by a panel co-chaired by Mr Gerard Ee, president of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, and Judicial Commissioner Valerie Thean. Mr Ee said these guidelines will include a table suggesting different maintenance amounts depending on two factors: the child's age and parents' income. "These factors have always been considered in divorce cases but there was no actuarial template to refer to," he added. Having such guidelines will "help improve consistency and cost-effectiveness" in divorce cases involving children, said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon last week at the opening of the legal year, when he announced the setting up of the panel. Countries with child maintenance guidelines include Germany, Canada and Australia. The table Mr Ee mentioned is similar to Germany's Dusseldorf Table, which has been updated nearly every year for the past decade. Mr Ee said the one in Singapore will be refreshed regularly too, to reflect changes in living costs. The move comes amid a rising number of break-ups, though the divorce rate has been stable. The latest available data shows there were 7,120 divorces in 2015, a rise of 11 per cent from the number in 2005. Family lawyers welcomed the move, with some saying child maintenance is one of the most rancorous issues argued about in court as there are inconsistencies over how much is needed to raise a child. Said Mr Rajan Chettiar: "Often, the father thinks the mother is deliberately inflating the child's expenses to get more maintenance, and worries that the mother will spend the extra money on herself." Ms Gloria James agreed that many divorcing parties inflate expenses, citing a case in which the court's view of the children's monthly expenses was about $1,300 less than what the mother had argued for. The mother had included items like "staycations", "photography" and "birthday parties". Ms Sharanjit Kaur said judges face an "uphill task" in assessing the average cost of living for children owing to changing expectations and needs."The cost of living for children has changed significantly, with parents spending more on things like enrichment classes." Currently, parents must give evidence such as receipts for expenses incurred by the child. Lawyers Ivan Cheong and Michelle Woodworth said the guidelines could lead to divorce cases being closed more quickly. This will also reduce parents' legal costs. Mr Ee said the panel will consult other lawyers on the guidelines, and possibly the public later this year.
January 13, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Partner (Foreign Lawyer) Mark Jacobsen shared his views on how the MiFID II will affect asset managers in Asia in an article published by Thomson Reuters

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Partner (Foreign Lawyer) Mark Jacobsen was featured in an article published in Thomson Reuters titled “Asian financial institutions seek to understand MiFID II impact”. The article was first published on Thomson Reuters Accelus Regulatory Intelligence and Compliance Complete. Source: Copyright © Thomson Reuters 2017 Date: 13 January 2017 Author: Patricia Lee Asian financial institutions seek to understand MiFID II impact Asian financial institutions are finally waking up to the reality that they could be caught by MiFID II if they offer products and services to clients with a link to the European Union, including executing trades on EU venues. The EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) regulates firms which provide services to clients linked to financial instruments including shares, bonds, units in collective investment schemes and derivatives, and the venues where those instruments are traded. Keith Pogson, senior partner, financial services at EY in Hong Kong, said MiFID II was mainly about protecting investors, specifically retail investors, while ensuring there was fair play in the market, including best execution, responsible trading activity and avoiding conflicts of interest. Clients, products, infrastructures The initial thinking that MiFID II will only affect financial institutions in Europe has proved to be a misconception; its extraterritorial effects will also be felt outside Europe. How MiFID II will affect financial institutions, Pogson said, needs to be examined from three points of nexus: clients, products and infrastructures. For instance, an Asian financial institution with European clients, an Asian financial institution whose Asian clients purchase European financial instruments and an Asian bank which appoints a European broker to execute a trade will all, in some way, be caught by MiFID II. "Depending on the relationship between the Asian bank and the European broker, the latter may have to go through MiFID II. To the Asian bank, there is direct impact from MiFID II and it has to do with the customer due diligence component, but because it is not directly the market participant, its counterparty, in this case the European broker, will have to have best execution because it is the market participant," he said. Similarly, when financial instruments such as derivatives or bonds in Asia are settled through a clearing house in Europe, the Asian financial institutions involved in the trade will need to comply with MiFID II because these are considered capital market activities in the euro zone. Pogson said it is difficult to ascertain at this stage how MiFID II will affect Asian financial institutions given that the legislation is still evolving and the proposed rules continue to change. "That's a form of frustration for market practitioners. Those who hope that they don't get impacted by MiFID II are hoping that the rules will change or, if not, there's a third route, i.e., taking the smallest impact by trying to stay outside the requirements of MiFID II as much as their business allows," he said. Impact on Asian banks MIFID II will affect both the internal and external processes of Asian financial institutions. Internally, Asian financial institutions will be required to review their processes and fulfil trade reporting obligations. Externally, financial institutions will need to conduct customer due diligence, ensure product suitability and carry out best execution. The impact of MiFID II on many Asian banks, such as Malaysian or Thai banks, is likely to be minimal compared with the effect it will have on large international financial institutions, Pogson said. Private banking will be the biggest area where Asian banks will be hit by MiFID II, and one of the most challenging areas insofar as dealing with clients is concerned, he said. For European banks, the effect of MiFID II will be felt largely in the financial markets involving investment banking and derivatives activities, for instance. Determining the level of protection To help them determine the level of protection they need to accord their customers as required by MiFID II, Asian banks will be required to undertake a fair amount of due diligence including evaluating product suitability, Pogson said. But a feature known as "opt up" under MiFID II, which allows banks' customers to become market professionals, i.e., sophisticated investors, may not require banks to carry out the same amount of suitability and due diligence on the customers when executing transactions as they would for retail customers. Markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong also have their own definitions for sophisticated investors which are accredited investors (AI) and professional investors respectively. Banks in Singapore, for instance, will need to determine whether their AI customers qualify as market professionals under the MiFID II framework. If the AI customers in Singapore choose to opt up under the MiFID II framework, they will be accorded lighter-touch protection, Pogson said. Likewise banks in Hong Kong will also need to determine whether their customers with professional investor status qualify as market professionals under MiFID II. "Banks in Asia would need to carry out a gap analysis to determine the work they have to do, the differences in the type of customers and what the gain is," he said. How MiFID II affect asset managers Asset managers, fund managers and hedge funds will also be affected by MiFID II, but to a lesser extent than banks. Asset managers will need to work out what is required of them under MiFID II, but are likely to rely on prime brokers and custodians to help them comply with, for example, carrying out trade execution and fulfilling reporting requirements, Pogson said. "The added burden