Regulatory Recap - August 2016

Recent Key Deleopments

  • APRA released its corporate plan for 2016-2020
  • FCA indicated that it was considering approving a small number of blockchain technology developers

  • ASIC released its enforcement report for the first half of 2016, demonstrating the impact of the funding injection it received earlier this year and foreshadowing its areas of focus in the next six months

Australia

  • ASIC said it plans to conduct 'targeted surveillance' activities, while denying claims that accountants are forming a “passive resistance” against the licensing regime: > read more
  • APRA released its corporate plan, focussed on enhancing its internal leadership and culture, sharpening its risk-based management and building its recovery and resolution capability: > read more
  • ASIC released its half year report into corporate finance regulation, detailing the types of issues that have caused ASIC to intervene, its approach to novel issues seen in transactions during the period, an overview of ASIC’s current policy initiatives in this space and regulatory initiatives ASIC has undertaken in relation to due diligence practices, disclosure of financial information in prospectuses and applications to the Takeovers Panel: > read more
  • ASIC released a regulatory guide on providing digital financial advice, from the licensing stage to the actual provision of advice: > read more
  • ASIC's half year enforcement report indicated that it will continue to focus on gatekeeper conduct, compliance with the FOFA reforms, financial advice quality, conduct risk, responsible lending and financial market integrity: > read more

United Kingdom

  • Prime Minister Theresa May set out a number of key corporate governance reforms she intends to introduce, including a binding, rather than advisory, vote on remuneration and consumer and employee representation on company boards: > read more
  • Financial Reporting Council released a report on corporate culture and the role of boards, which addresses how boards and executive management can steer corporate behaviour to create a culture that will deliver long-term value and the role of the board in shaping, monitoring and overseeing culture: > read more 
  • FCA indicated it was considering approving "a small but significant number" of blockchain technology developments using the process behind bitcoin, the cryptocurrency, as part of its Project Innovate: > read more
  • Woodford Investment Management, one of the UK's most respected fund managers, announced that it would no longer pay bonuses, stating a belief that bonuses do not encourage the right behaviours or lead to better outcomes for investors or customers: > read more

United States

  • Investors commenced a class action against CBA, Westpac, NAB and ANZ, along with the Australian branches of several international banks, based on the allegation that the banks made “hundreds of millions of dollars” in profits by “artificially fixing BBSW-based derivatives prices at levels that benefited their trading books”: > read more
  • SEC introduced a requirement that all broker-dealers maintain electronic records: > read more
  • SEC announced that a company would pay a fine of USD265,000 for breaching whistle-blower protection legislation: > read more
Scott Atkins

I'm unapologetically determined and fearless. I pursue excellence. Always.

Scott Atkins Partner

Scott is a trusted adviser to Australia's leading banks and insolvency and restructuring practitioners and has acted on some of the industry's most complex and sensitive banking and insolvency advisory and dispute resolution matters.

Prior to joining HDY, Scott practiced for 7 years as in-house counsel with Commonwealth Bank Group. He is now our Client Relationship Partner for the CBA Group. He is also the co-leader of our cross-border insolvency practice and our regulatory enforcement practice. Scott is recognised by his peers for his leading expertise in cross-border insolvency, acting on both inbound engagements in Australia and advising Australian clients on outbound engagements in the USA, UK, Cayman Islands, Hong Kong and The Netherlands, among other jurisdictions.

Scott was the Australian delegate on the Advisory Committee on Comparative Law established by the American Bankruptcy Institute as part of its Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. This resulted in a landmark report for the reform of Chapter 11.

He is a published author on insolvency and cross-border insolvency. Most recently, Scott was one of the Australian contributors to the 2015 publication 'International Contributions to the reform of Chapter 11 U.S. bankruptcy code' which is volume 2 of the European and International Insolvency Law Studies series. He also authored the Australian chapter of Avoidance of Antecedent Transactions and Cross-Border Insolvency (INSOL International). Among other publications, he is the co-author, together with Professor Rosalind Mason, of the Australian chapter of Look Chan Ho's leading text: Cross-Border Insolvency: Cases and Materials (Kluwer International).

Scott is a visiting lecturer on cross-border insolvency at the University of Sydney in its undergraduate and postgraduate law programs lead by Professor John Stumbles.

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Nikki Bentley

I understand the financial services industry and thrive on helping our clients in this industry succeed.

Nikki Bentley Partner

Nikki is a leading investment funds advisor specialising in financial services and corporate law.  She specialises in business establishment and structuring, fund establishment, funds merger and acquisition, product disclosure and distribution. Nikki leads HDY's corporate group which combines expertise from the Financial Services, M&A and Tax areas.

Nikki provides advice to leading Australian and global fund managers on a full range of corporate, commercial and regulatory issues facing their businesses. She has considerable experience in assisting clients with fund establishment (onshore and offshore), disclosure and distribution. Nikki regularly advises clients on establishing, buying, selling and restructuring their businesses. She also regularly assists clients responding to regulatory enquiries and investigations.

With more than 15 years funds management experience in private practice, government and as an in-house lawyer, Nikki's practice spans the range of funds management products, with particular expertise in hedge funds, property funds and equities.

Nikki is regularly involved in industry and government discussions on regulatory reforms impacting the Australian funds management industry. Nikki is a passionate advocate for the development of a new corporate collective investment vehicle because of the opportunities it could provide to grow the funds management industry. She is the Honorary Legal Counsel and Chair of the Regulatory Committee for the Australian branch of the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) and is a regular participant on the Financial Services Council (FSC) working groups.

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John Martin Partner

Domestically, John advises on large and complex insolvencies and assists in finding solutions for financial institutions with regulatory and other complex issues. His clients include several of Australia's major banks, as well as insolvency practitioners appointed to insolvent entities.

Internationally, John has advised in connection with insolvencies in England, Fiji, Bermuda, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Brunei, and Norfolk Island. His cross-border experience includes acting for the liquidators of an insolvent bank, and various liquidators of insurance and reinsurance companies.

John is a recognised authority on insolvency issues, with articles published in media outlets such as The Australian Financial Review and the Insolvency Law Journal. He has presented at numerous domestic conferences as well as internationally in the US, England, South Africa, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

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Kathy Merrick

Having the trust of my clients means we work together to achieve the best outcome.

Kathy Merrick Partner

Kathy has been called upon to advise on many of Australia's major corporate disputes, collapses and investigations. Her clients include major corporations and financial institutions, directors, officers, accounting and professional services firms, administrators, liquidators, other corporate entities and individuals.

Kathy has extensive experience in the areas of insolvency, directors and officers duties, professional negligence claims, and regulatory and other investigations, representing parties whether as plaintiffs, defendants, investigators or the subject of investigation.

Kathy is a strong advocate for pro bono work and has played a lead role in developing our community and pro bono program.

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Claudine Salameh Partner

Claudine is a banking and insolvency litigation and regulatory expert. She acts for the major Australian financial institutions in relation to matters involving customer disputes, fraud, regulatory and compliance issues, security enforcement and debt recovery. She also acts for insolvency practitioners in formal receiverships, voluntary administrations and liquidations.

Claudine is well known for her ability to manage risks posed by litigation and regulatory inquiries and investigations. She is particularly attuned to reputational and business risks.

Claudine is highly strategic and creative and is recognised by her clients for being able to achieve the perfect balance between legal arguments and commercial and practical outcomes.

Claudine is currently assisting a financial institution in a review and remediation scheme and in a large scale recovery matter against a religious organisation. She is also involved in advising financial institutions in relation to their compliance with regulatory obligations.

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