Benjamin Liew is a Partner with the firm’s Financial Institutions practice, and has acted for a diverse range of financial institutions including retail and private banks, investment advisers, fund managers, fintechs, brokers and derivatives dealers.
Benjamin has been recognised as a Next Generation Partner for Capital Markets: Structured Finance, Derivatives and Securitisation (2022) and Financial Services Regulatory (2017-2018) by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific. He has also been named one of Singapore’s 18 Most Influential Lawyers under 40 in 2021 by Singapore Business Review.
Benjamin was seconded to an international payment services firm in 2021, and also completed a specialist secondment programme in 2019 at a Singapore bank, which was jointly organised by the Ministry of Law and the Economic Development Board. Benjamin was also seconded to a leading international law firm in London in 2016.
Benjamin commenced his legal career as a transactional lawyer. He is now a recognised financial services regulatory specialist and advises and represents clients on regulatory, licensing and compliance, and enforcement matters in the financial services sector. In addition, he has worked on various mergers and acquisition transactions involving financial services businesses.
Notable Cases & Transactions:
- Assisted and advised various leading securities and futures broking firms, fund managers and investment advisory firms from jurisdictions including the United States, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and India on licensing requirements and applicability of licensing exemptions; and acted for these clients in securing their capital markets services licenses issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, covering a broad range of regulated activities under the Securities and Futures Act including dealing in capital markets products, advising on corporate finance and fund management.
- Advised a major credit card and payment system company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan on its licensing requirements under the Payment Services Act, and other business documentation including merchants agreements.
- Advised a digital asset infrastructure and custodial service provider on licensing requirements under the Payment Services Act and the implementation of its Singapore business.
- Advised a PRC headquartered e-commerce group on its digital bank licence application in 2019 and 2020, a new banking framework announced by the MAS in 2019.
- Advised a FinTech startup on its virtual stored value and payment system service, proposed to be set up in Singapore and other jurisdictions in South-East Asia, on the licensing and regulatory requirements under the Money-Changing and Remittance Businesses Act, Payment Systems (Oversight) Act and the Banking Act.
- Advised both Singapore and overseas financial institutions (including banks, capital markets services licence holders, financial advisers, fund managers and insurers) on Singapore financial services regulatory matters including substantial shareholding disclosure requirements, mandatory OTC derivatives reporting under the Securities and Futures Act, remuneration issues, outsourcing arrangements, conduct of business requirements, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism obligations, margin requirements and client monies rules.
- Assisted financial institutions with the drafting and development documentation, ranging from standard customer terms of business; bespoke structured product documentation; to outsourcing and services agreements.
- Assisted various corporate clients in the drafting and negotiation of the ISDA Master Agreement in respect of their OTC derivatives transactions.
- Assisted in a multi-jurisdictional transaction involving the proposed investment of one of the largest banks in the Middle East in an international wealth management and investment advisory group operating in London and Singapore, featuring equity, debt and convertible financing structures. Regulatory approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for the proposed investment and change in control was required to be obtained.
- Advised on the largest listed Asian bank with a legal and regulatory review of its global private banking business, including reviewing, and making recommendations to its business model and legal documentation including customer agreements, internal service agreements and other documentation including internal compliance policies, international control and business process policies. The special review was subject to the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
- Advised a Swiss headquartered private bank on the potential regulatory and licensing risks under their cross-border private banking business model.
- Assisted an international multinational life insurance company headquartered in London in their proposed bancassurance tie-up with one of Asian’s leading banks headquartered in Singapore.
- Advised and acted for numerous global commodity traders overseas and in Singapore on licensing requirements under the Commodity Trading Act regulated by International Enterprise Singapore, including the transfer of the regulatory and licensing framework for OTC commodity derivatives from the Commodity Trading Act to the Securities and Futures Act.
- Assisted a Canadian portfolio manager in the regulatory due diligence on various licensed and registered insurance brokers in Singapore in connection with its proposed investment in a leading international insurance group.
- Advised and acted for one of the largest palm oil businesses globally, headquartered in Singapore, in its competitive bid process for a private acquisition of an Indonesian palm oil business.