November 28, 2016

ASEAN Plus Group congratulates member firms on largest law firm rankings by Asian Legal Business

The ASEAN Plus Group (APG) congratulates our member firms on their largest law firm rankings, released by Asian Legal Business (ALB) for 2016. APG congratulates: RHTLaw Taylor Wessing on being ranked 7th largest in Singapore Azmi & Associates on being ranked 7th largest in Malaysia DR & AJU on being ranked 8th largest in South Korea Hanafiah Ponggawa & Partners on being ranked 6th largest in Indonesia Lee & Li on retaining its 1st place ranking in Taiwan Siam City Law Offices on being ranked 5th largest in Thailand RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Vietnam on being ranked 9th in Vietnam Villaraza & Angangco on being ranked 7th largest in Philippines The extensive regional reach and expertise of the APG sets us apart as it provides clients direct access to more than 1,000 legal professionals across 12 countries.
November 25, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail and Deputy Head of Banking & Finance Ow Kim Kit featured in Singapore Business Review

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s Head of Regulatory Practice Nizam Ismail and Deputy Head of Banking & Finance Ow Kim Kit was quoted in an article published in Singapore Business Review titled “Fueling anti-money laundering regime”. The article was first published in the November-December 2016 edition of Singapore Business Review. Fueling anti-money laundering regime New regulations will not be rolled out, but heightened vigilance is to be expected. Source: Singapore Business Review © 2016 Charlton Media Group Date: November-December 2016 Edition The moment the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) ordered Swiss private bank BSI to pay fines amounting to an unprecedented US$13.3 million and shut down local operations earlier in May, it sent a strong signal that there would be little mercy shown to those that want to make a fool out of the country’s anti-money laundering (AML) regime. MAS is not planning to roll out new AML regulations as it considers the regime already being one of the strongest in the world, although it did create new teams to enhance enforcement. Legal experts reckon the aftermath of the recent case will also heighten vigilance in compliance as the threat of severe, even criminal, punishment permeates the minds of banking bigwigs and their staff. As part of the push to strengthen the AML regime, the MAS has created new dedicated AML supervision and enforcement teams? How do you think will it help? The creation of these new teams is a very positive addition to the current regime, and they will enhance supervisory focus especially given the increasing complexities of transnational flows and cross border transactions, says Kim Kit Ow, partner, banking & finance at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP. “Where the supervision team is concerned, the objective is to have these teams dedicate their efforts and focus on streamlining the existing responsibilities for regulatory policies, and to monitor money laundering and other financial risks by carrying out onsite supervision of how financial institutions manage such risks,” says Ow. “A dedicated Enforcement department will translate into a strong enforcement capability that is necessary to take swift actions to punish the institutions or individuals who have breached MAS’ regulations.” How should banks and other financial institutions brace for tougher regulation moving forward? In the short run there will be some heightened measures in the banks and financial institutions, says Ow, in order to self-ensure and self-police that they are not going to be the next bank to be made an example of by regulators. This is a good time for banks and financial institutions to take stock and ensure that their existing policies and processes comply with regulatory expectations. The increased regulatory scrutiny will compel financial institutions to make AML compliance not merely the concern of solely the back office compliance team but a concern that is shared by all members of the organisation, says Eric Chan, partner, financial services regulatory, Shook Lin & Bok LLP. What else should be done to avoid repetition of the incident involving local financial institutions of Singapore? The MAS and enforcement agencies must continue to push for a mindset change in relation to the risks of money laundering, says Chan. “The regulatory standards are already there. And most financial institutions and regulated entities would already have implemented internal policies and procedures consistent with those standards. What is now needed is an enhancement of implementation and execution efforts,” says Chan. To improve adherence to corporate policies and procedures, he reckons staff working in financial institutions and other regulated sectors will need to take personal ownership of AML compliance. Management, meanwhile, must take the lead in setting the tone, which is often easier said than done, because the risks often seem somewhat distant. “Our key weakness – as is the case, I should add, in many other jurisdictions – is that many individuals still do not believe that money laundering is a real risk for their organisation,” says Chan. “It is for this reason that many staff in financial institutions and other regulated sectors still tend not to take customer due diligence requirements too seriously but continue to regard it as a cumbersome burden. And this explains the various lapses that we have been hearing of recently,” he says. Banking leaders such as board members and senior management must start owning AML and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) compliance matters because they can be at risk, and even face criminal prosecution, for egregious lapses, says Nizam Ismail, partner and head of regulatory practice at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP, and co-founder of RHT Compliance Solutions. MAS has shown that it will be ruthless when it comes to prosecuting leaders when it comes to compliance lapses, announcing in public that it has referred six former senior business leaders in BSI bank to the public prosecutor’s office for criminal prosecution. Ismail advises board members and senior management to allot robust resources for AML/ CFT and then rally the organisation to strengthen compliance. “Compliance culture is key,” says Ismail. “The BSI case highlighted that even with well-resourced compliance teams and AML/ CFT processes, breaches can occur where senior management did not take compliance seriously.”
November 23, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing Partners Wun Rizwi and Jack Ow conducted second MasterClass for BNP Paribas

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing conducted a second internal IT MasterClass for BNP Paribas, where topics discussed included Cyber Security, Data Protection, Technology Risk Management Regulatory Guidelines and the new MAS Outsourcing Guidelines 2016. The session concluded with our Partners sharing their thoughts on a taste of things to come in terms of cyber security regulation. Partners Wun Rizwi and Jack Ow conducted this portion of the session.
November 15, 2016

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates RHT Holdings Chief Executive Officer Jayaprakash Jagateesan on being awarded a Service to Education medallion by the Ministry of Education

RHTLaw Taylor Wessing congratulates RHT Holdings Chief Executive Officer Jayaprakash Jagateesan on being awarded a Service to Education medallion by the Ministry of Education (MOE). Prakash received this prestigious award for his role and contribution from being part of the School Advisory Committee and Board Member of government schools. MOE recognised recipients who made significant contributions to schools, working closely with principals, staff and pupils to promote school development, pupil well-being and forging closer relationships between the community and school. This award is given to members of public who voluntarily serve in local schools. In 2016, a total of 295 members received the Service to Education award.