Digitisation of financial markets and products
Innovation in financial market infrastructure and financial products
The digitalisation of financial market infrastructure throws up a host of legal, regulatory and structuring issues impacting financial market infrastructures, financial institutions, financial technology companies and industry bodies.
We advise on digitisation of securities on existing platforms and use of novel technologies (including distributed ledger technologies and smart contracts) within financial markets, and related data infrastructure / architecture issues.
We advise on the issuance, servicing and custody of digital assets and digital asset-linked instruments, smart contract arrangements, and the development of decentralised finance (DeFi) platforms, in respect of a wide range of legal, regulatory, structuring and commercial issues.
Payments systems, services and e-money
Payments are at the forefront of the digitalisation of commerce, particularly in an online context. Technological developments drive new business models, for example in relation to distributed ledger technology and blockchain, and cross-border payments.
We have been at the forefront of the legal developments within this space, advising on many ground-breaking use cases within the payments sector, such as stablecoins and Central Bank digital currencies as well as the payments aspects of financial market infrastructure.
We help establish global payment systems, both retail facing and wholesale, advising on legal and regulatory considerations at inception and design with respect to new products and geographical expansion. We work with the full range of players in the payments ecosystem: payment service providers (including digital wallet providers), merchant acquirors, payment processors and providers of online payment gateways.
We also support various types of B2B and B2C marketplaces with integrated payments solutions across sectors: from wholesale marketplaces and social networking sites, to other areas such as travel, ride-hailing, food delivery, gaming and fashion. Find out more about our Payments expertise.
Digital transformation strategies
We support clients in enabling their digital strategies: acquiring, developing or procuring tech, and protecting their strategic investments. We help clients address the myriad of novel risks and legal issues, particularly in highly regulated environments such as financial services. Find out more about our Technology, outsourcing and procurement expertise.
Fintech investment, funding and corporate structuring
Strategic investment and fintech M&A
We specialise in large scale M&A and strategic investments, enabling our clients to realise opportunities in growth areas, consolidate their market position, or acquire tech and tech talent. We support them with corporate structuring, establishing complex fintech consortia, joint ventures and breaking into new markets in a range of jurisdictions.
We help Fintechs and potential investors consider their capital/finance raising options and the best equity and debt mix – from crowdfunding, venture capital and IPOs to debt financing and structuring investment funds. We also advise clients across the entire investment cycle – from seed through to IPO, SPACs and beyond, across all forms of capital raisings - equity and debt finance and in all major markets.
We also provide asset managers with advice in respect of fintech funds. Find out more about our Corporate and M&A, Equity Capital Markets, Leveraged Finance and Investment Funds expertise.
Merger control and foreign direct investment
M&A in the tech sector faces unprecedented scrutiny from antitrust and foreign investment authorities globally, who have lowered the thresholds for both jurisdiction and intervention. Heightened scrutiny means heightened execution risk for M&A.
Foreign investment controls are also an increasing issue in tech deals as an increasing number of countries have new or strengthened regimes. Fintech and payments mergers are potentially vulnerable to scrutiny since many regimes now capture investment in companies holding hold sensitive data, develop critical or emerging technologies (such as AI and cryptographic authentication), or are active in data infrastructure.
We offer clients a one stop shop for handling merger control and foreign investment review filings: a single, central point of contact and a coherent global strategy, critical to navigating merger control and foreign investment approvals successfully.
Find out more about our Merger Control and Foreign Investment expertise.
The regulatory matrix impacting fintech
Financial services regulation
Disruption remains a critical element of the continued growth and innovation in the fintech sector. But the impact of financial regulation cannot be underestimated as those fintech disruptors bring their products to market. The depth and breadth of our understanding of the global regulatory environment is invaluable for helping clients navigate regulatory frameworks, including critical regulatory perimeter analysis. Find out more about our Financial Regulation Group.
Regulation of the digital economy
There is increasing scrutiny of tech and fintech companies, their dominance, data use and responsibility for online harms and a focus on consumer protection in digital markets. This has prompted intervention to regulate the digital economy with use of anti-trust and data protection tools against major tech companies, digital services taxes and regulation of online content. We enable clients to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape around the world to build and defend successful businesses.
We advise on open banking, data governance, monetisation of data and data protection, international data transfers and data localisation, operational resilience and cybersecurity, AI and cloud computing, specifically as they apply in financial services. Find out more about our Antitrust, Data, Operational Resilience, Online Harms and Cyber Security expertise.
Culture, D&I and ESG
The current climate presents unprecedented challenges for organisations from an employment and culture perspective.
We work closely with clients to address their strategic employment and environmental, societal and governance (ESG) issues to best effect in areas such as workplace culture, diversity, pay and incentives, workforce restructuring, supply chain compliance and whistle-blowing. Find out more about our Employment and incentives and ESG expertise and visit our dedicated Culture Hub and Diversity Faculty.
Crisis, enforcement and disputes
Data and cyber driven crisis
Technology and data are increasingly used in sophisticated and complex ways. They are ever more critical to businesses and consumers, meaning that the risks associated with tech system failures, data breach, cyber attacks, and misuse of intellectual property can be hugely damaging – operationally, reputationally and financially.
Cyber risk management is a board level issue and we work with clients to build their cyber and operational resilience, properly protect their intellectual property, and create the appropriate governments structures to respond quickly and appropriately to crisis events when they happen. Find out more about our Operational Resilience and Cyber Security and Crisis Management expertise.
Regulatory investigations and litigation
Given the critical nature of tech and the consequent increased focus from regulators and the courts, the cost of dealing with crisis issues is growing substantially. We work increasingly with clients in engaging with regulators across the global both to manage compliance risk and support regulatory investigations when they occur and any resulting litigation.
When things go wrong, our global disputes team and manage complex tech disputes of all kinds, including IP, software and licencing disputes and the developing world of crypto litigation. Find out more about our Dispute Resolution expertise.