In this specially-themed edition of The Wrap we consider how innovation as a concept is driving different initiatives in the financial services industry. Innovation has become a commonly used term among businesses seeking to differentiate themselves in a fast-moving industry.

HDY gets to the heart of innovation in this edition and discover that it can be interpreted through change management, adaption to new technologies, blending digital and human interaction and manoeuvring through the regulatory maze. One common strand we see is the underpinning need for speed and adaptability of thought and ideas. In a word, ingenuity.

In financial services, the need to adapt to challenges brought by operational innovations, new entrants and changing markets and consumer bases is as old as the hills. One view, is that it simply describes capitalism in process. The new buzz around disruption and start-ups in that sense is describing an evolutionary stage only and not a new frontier.

The fintech businesses looking to grab market share from established financial institutions therefore stand as the latest in a long line of market innovators tracing back over the years. These innovators keep good company alongside the developers of the first investment platforms, internet banking, ATMs and telegraphic money transfers.

In the latest edition, we take a deep dive into these themes and ask questions about how new ideas and innovation actually coexist. Thank you for reading.

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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 the Group Leader of Henry Davis York's Corporate Group, which includes the legal teams for Corporate / Mergers & Acquisitions; Investments & Financial Services and Tax.

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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Jon Ireland

I constantly strive for technical excellence and commercial outcomes that add real value for my clients.

Jon Ireland Partner

Jon has extensive experience in corporate and financial services law, specialising in complex transactions, funds management and investment distribution. Jon also advises on regulatory issues relating to the use of technology in financial services.

Jon provides advice to leading Australian and international financial services clients on the full range of corporate, commercial and regulatory issues facing these businesses. He has considerable experience advising them on establishing, buying into, selling and restructuring their businesses.

Jon regularly advises on funds management issues including fund structuring, disclosure, investment management and outsourcing arrangements. He has particular expertise in the area of investment distribution and has advised on key projects for platform operators and advice providers.

Recently, Jon has advised on the establishment of a fully digital investment platform, the negotiation of a material outsourcing arrangement for a global investment bank and a scheme modernisation project for a leading Australian fund manager. Jon has also recently advised on the establishment of the Australian operations of a global diversified financial services business, including regulatory and corporate issues related to its expansion.

Jon's clients value his advice on recent law reforms, including around product disclosure statements and the digital provision of financial services. Jon is consulting to the Committee for Sydney and is a regular participant on Financial Services Council working groups.

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James Higby

By collectively striving for excellence, we can achieve outstanding results for our clients and our Firm.

James Higby Senior Associate

James has extensive experience in commercial litigation, with a focus on corporate and regulatory investigations and disputes, financial services, technology, insolvency and trade practices.

James' focus is on commercial litigation including claims concerning allegations of inappropriate financial advice, shareholder disputes, directors and officers' duties, professional negligence, and corporate & regulatory investigations, acting for and against the regulator.

James has a keen interest in disputes arising from new technology, especially in the fintech area. He provides commercially focussed solutions to a range of clients in the financial services, government and private sectors.

James acts for listed and unlisted entities as well as major national and international financial institutions in a wide variety of proceedings in the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, the Federal Court of Australia and before the Financial Ombudsman Service. James is also experienced in government commissions and inquiries.

James has particular experience in relation to large-scale, high-value litigation, regularly acting for large institutions, their directors, officers or shareholders in all litigious matters including contractual disputes, tortious claims, trade practices proceedings, shareholder oppression suits and regulatory investigations.

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Vinod Kumar

I aim to exceed expectations with commercial, innovative and engaging legal advice.

Vinod Kumar Senior Associate

Vinod advises fund managers and other financial institutions on corporate, commercial and regulatory issues facing their businesses. He specialises in funds management and general corporate law.

Vinod specialises in regulated and unregulated corporate transactions, funds management and financial services regulation. Vinod also provides general corporate advice on matters such as Corporations Act, ASX and regulatory compliance, corporate governance and disclosure.

Vinod's experience includes:

  • advising on a range of listed and unlisted funds, inbound and outbound investment and complex investment products including expertise in superannuation funds
  • foreign financial institutions establishing businesses in Australia
  • assisting clients to establish wholesale and retail funds (managed investment schemes and trusts). Assisting clients to apply for, vary, and administer Australian Financial Services Licences and Australian Credit Licences
  • advising trustees and responsible entities on governance, financial and operational requirements. Developing, implementing and reviewing compliance and risk management policies and procedures
  • advising on trust restructures and schemes, mergers and acquisitions of funds, fund investments and divestments
  • advising on financial services regulations including the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) and related regulations
  • launching new financial products including preparing information memoranda, product disclosure statements and advising on disclosure obligations generally, including under the ASX Listing Rules.


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Ken Wong

Collaboration inspires innovation for a viable future.

Ken Wong Senior Associate

Ken is an IT and commercial lawyer specialising in technology, communications, intellectual property, e-commerce, payment services, privacy and data protection.

Ken has extensive in-house and private practice experience drafting and negotiating large-scale technology procurement contracts, including software application development, ownership and licensing, software as a service, outsourcing and cloud computing arrangements.

Ken advises on privacy and credit reporting laws, including drafting privacy policies, consent forms, collection notices, privacy impact assessments and privacy clauses in commercial contracts. He also advises on data protection issues, including drafting data transfer agreements for both local and multinational organisations, and advising on laws on data protection and security.

Ken's area of focus is in the financial services sector. He has particular interest in financial services technology and innovation. He has deep understanding of technology commercialisation and intellectual property rights issues.

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Matthew Farnsworth

It's rewarding to partner with clients to find solutions that add value and help them succeed.

Matthew Farnsworth Special Counsel

Matthew has extensive experience in funds management and financial services law. He advises leading Australian and international financial services clients across a wide range of transactional and regulatory matters.

Matthew advises leading Australian and international financial services clients on transactional and regulatory matters.

Clients look to Matthew to assist them to establish, offer and operate retail and wholesale investment funds. He advises on Australian financial services licensing, fund governance, offer documents and fund restructures, including managed investment schemes and other collective investment vehicles (CIVs).

He also advises on outsourcing arrangements, compliance issues and on ongoing regulatory developments in the financial services sector.

Matthew is experienced in the full range of asset classes and has particular experience in the property funds sector, including fund establishment, capital raising and restructures.

He is also experienced in a wide range of transactions in the financial services sector, joint ventures and funds M&A.

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Sue Everingham

I champion the delivery of first rate thinking in all aspects of my profession.

Sue Everingham Consultant

Sue is an expert in all aspects of superannuation from constituent documents, insurance and investment arrangements through to benefit design and member communication. Her special interest is in corporate and prudential governance from the Board room through to the Prudential Policies and from Risk Management through to compliance.

Sue has over 25 years experience in the Financial Services industry practising in Australia and for a short period in the US. She has private practice experience as well as leading in-house legal teams at Mercer and at CBA. Sue specialises in superannuation and has a Masters of Taxation and is CPA qualified, and completed a Diploma with the AICD in 2004.

Sue's goal is to help clients identify their need for legal advice and provide the advice that meets their needs.  Good communication skills help Sue understand a client's requirements, business acumen helps her position client needs within the relevant context. The extent of Sue's experience helps her deliver legal advice in a commercial and practical format.

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