April 24, 2017

Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail featured in The Sunday Times on the topic of binary option scams

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail was featured in an article titled “Avoid getting burnt by binary option scams” in The Sunday Times’s Invest Column. The article was first published in The Sunday Times on 23 April 2017.   Spike in victims here lured by promises of high, quick and safe returns Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Date: 24 Apr 2017 Author: Lorna Tan In recent months, the authorities here have issued warnings to investors on a practice known as binary option trading. It is a minefield for those hoping to make a quick buck, particularly when the trading is done via unregulated platforms. The spate of warnings comes in the wake of a sharp rise in the number of complaints from investors who have suffered financial losses from such investments. The Singapore Police Force said it has received more than 40 reports from investors, including finance executives and retirees, who have made complaints over losses in trading binary options. Together, they have lost more than US$1.7 million (S$2.4 million) to unregulated binary option trading platforms. One victim was US$693,044 out of pocket. Most of the investors are Chinese Singaporean men aged between 31 and 50. The police issued a warning last December advising investors to check the lists compiled by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to find out which investment service providers are regulated. Last month, the MAS cautioned investors about the risks in trading binary options with unregulated platforms. It considers such options risky and speculative, and sometimes fraudulent. On Friday, the police reminded the public to be alert to the risks of transacting with foreign operators without any physical presence here. "Do not transact with any parties, share personal particulars or send them any money if you are unsure. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said a police spokesman. The warnings against binary option trading are not confined to Singapore. The authorities in the United States, Canada and other jurisdictions have warned of the risks involved in such trading, reflecting a growing worldwide problem. A report by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence stated that in 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) received only four complaints with reported losses of more than US$20,000 from binary option fraud victims. Last year, IC3 received "hundreds of complaints with millions of dollars in reported losses". Late last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued an alert to warn investors that fraudsters may conduct investment schemes through purported online binary option trading platforms. Here are eight things you should know about binary option trading. WHAT ARE BINARY OPTIONS? A binary option is a type of option contract that references an underlying instrument, where the payout will depend entirely on the outcome of a "yes" or "no" (binary) proposition. The underlying instrument can vary and may include asset classes such as shares, currencies, commodities and even the movement of interest rates. With a binary option, you are trying to predict whether the price of the underlying asset will be above or below a specified price at a specified point in time. That could range from a few minutes to a few months in the future. Mr Nizam Ismail, head of regulatory practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, considers binary options high-risk products. He said: "You are predicting, for example, whether the stock price of a company will be above or below $1.50 at 2.30pm on a particular day... These are complex products and there are inherent risks. "Some unregulated platforms for binary options also have sensational headlines such as '500 per cent returns per trade', without properly disclosing the risks." WHAT CAN GO WRONG IN BINARY OPTION TRADING? It is difficult to make the correct prediction, especially when the time frame before the expiry of the binary option is short. It is very likely that you will not have time to change your prediction or resell your option once you make your investment. This makes it extremely easy to lose your entire investment. In addition, unlike other types of options, holding a binary option does not give you the right to buy or sell the underlying asset. You receive a fixed payout if your prediction is correct but lose your entire investment if you are wrong. When the binary option expires, the option holder will receive either a predetermined amount of cash or nothing at all. Given the all-or-nothing payout structure, binary options are often called "all-or-nothing options" or "fixed-return options". The way they work seems more like online wagering than a traditional option trading strategy. As such, the risk of losing your entire investment in binary option trading is high, because correctly predicting short-term price movements is difficult. HOW ARE INVESTORS LURED TO TRADE IN BINARY OPTIONS? Binary option trading is attractive because it sounds simple and the option providers or platforms often promise high, quick and safe returns. Typically, a representative of a binary option website will ask a customer to deposit money into an account where the customer can purchase binary option contracts. Take the example of a binary option trading contract involving US dollars versus Canadian dollars (USD/CAD). You may be asked to pay a minimum investment of US$1 for a binary option contract that promises a 70 per cent return (that is, a payout of US$1.70) if you predict correctly that the price of USD/CAD will be trading higher or lower than a specified strike price in five minutes' time, said the police.
April 21, 2017

Litigation & Dispute Resolution Partner Michelle Woodworth invited to speak at The Litigation Conference 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Litigation and Dispute Resolution Partner Michelle Woodworth was invited to speak at The Litigation Conference 2017, organised by the Civil Practice Committee of The Law Society of Singapore. Michelle was part of the panel discussing on the topic “Modernisation of Law Firm Models and Impact on Litigation”. She shared her insights on how the progressing legal landscape, especially one that is geared towards digitisation and artificial intelligence, would impact Litigation. She also spoke about the necessity to go cross-border in order to remain relevant to clients. With the increasingly successful development of Singapore as an international dispute resolution hub, law firms have enthusiastically developed, modernised, rebranded, re-connected and diversified their structures, models and services. The two-day conference from 20-21 April 2017 was held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. It aims to bring together the judiciary, senior practitioners and industry experts across various jurisdictions to provide fresh insight on the latest developments in this area of practice. The theme of the conference is “50 years on – Thinking Forward”, in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of The Law Society of Singapore. International, regional and Singapore speakers were invited to take part in various panel discussion sessions to exchange and share ideas and experiences on the evolving litigation landscape and what the future holds for litigation lawyers, both the young and the senior. The keynote address was given by Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam.
April 18, 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing nominated as a finalist in seven categories by Asian Legal Business Southeast Asia Law Awards 2017

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing has been nominated as a finalist in seven categories by Asian Legal Business Southeast (ALB SE) Asia Law Awards 2017. The nominated categories are: Banking and Financial Services Law Firm of the Year Corporate Citizenship Law Firm of the Year Matrimonial and Family Law Firm of the Year Real Estate Law Firm of the Year Singapore Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year Singapore Managing Partner of the Year Technology, Media and Telecommunications Law Firm of the Year This year's awards mark the brave move of ALB towards transforming the prestigious event into a regional platform to foster friendly ties and mutual support among the finest legal practitioners. New categories and mechanics were introduced to make the contest more inclusive, engaging and truly reflective of the stellar leadership and expertise that have changed and influenced today's legal landscape. The event promises to bring together the elites from the different sectors of the legal profession across the SE Asian region and India, including the crème de la crème from the country awards in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
April 13, 2017

Senior Partner Tan Chong Huat appointed as Deputy Chairman of SGX Disciplinary Committee

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates Senior Partner Tan Chong Huat on his appointment as Deputy Chairman of Singapore Exchange’s (SGX) Disciplinary Committee. Chong Huat will be joined on the committee by senior executives with experience in corporate  finance, legal, accounting, directorship and market experience whose skills, expertise and knowledge provide sound and authoritative decision-making. The committee is established to enforce the highest standards in regulation and governance in Singapore’s capital markets.   As a front-line regulator of Singapore’s capital markets with a duty to operate fair, orderly and transparent markets, SGX relies on its independent Disciplinary Committee and Appeals Committee to adjudicate on breaches of SGX’s listing, trading and clearing rules governing the activities on SGX’s markets. The members of the Disciplinary Committee are appointed by SGX, in consultation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Ch’ng Li-Ling, Head of the Firm’s Capital Markets, said of Chong Huat’s appointment, “I’m delighted to congratulate Chong Huat on this appointment. It demonstrates the high regard in which Chong Huat is held within our legal profession and among our regulators, and is also a testament to the unique mix of business savvy, intellectual contribution and professional integrity that he brings to the wider business community.”