Digitisation of financial markets and products
Digital transformation strategies
Successful delivery of digital transformation strategies goes to the heart of an organisation’s ability to adapt and evolve. We support clients in the design and delivery of their digital strategies across the board: 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.
Linklaters has been at the centre of the evolution of the financial markets for decades. Fintech is the most recent manifestation of this evolution. Our global fintech team brings a deep understanding of the legal, regulatory, structuring and commercial issues relevant to both the markets and the technology. Find out more about our Technology, outsourcing and procurement expertise.
Innovation in financial market infrastructure and financial products
The digitisation of financial market infrastructure raises a host of legal, regulatory and structuring issues impacting financial market infrastructures, financial institutions, financial technology companies, end users and industry bodies.
Our global fintech team regularly advises on the digitisation of existing platforms, the development of new platforms and on the 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.
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.
Having advised 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 have long been at the forefront of the legal developments within this space.
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. Find out more about our Payments expertise.
Fintech investment, funding and corporate structuring
Strategic investment and fintech M&A
We can help you to realise opportunities in growth areas, consolidate your market position, or acquire tech and tech talent by drawing on our experience in large scale M&A and strategic investments. We can support you with corporate structuring, establishing complex fintech consortia, joint ventures and breaking into new markets in a range of jurisdictions.
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.
Capital and finance raising
Whether you are a fintech company or a potential investor, we can help you consider capital/finance raising options and the best equity and debt mix – from crowdfunding, venture capital and IPOs to debt financing and structuring investment funds. Clients seek our advice across the entire investment cycle – from seed through to IPO, SPACs and beyond and across all forms of capital raisings.
We are at the forefront of new developments in capital markets, whether it is amendments to existing listing regimes or innovative structures such as direct listings, and we understand the importance of working closely with our clients to achieve their objectives in capital raising.
Merger control and foreign direct investment
M&A in the tech sector faces unprecedented scrutiny from antitrust authorities globally, meaning heightened execution risk for M&A.Foreign investment controls are also an increasing issue in tech deals. Fintech and payments mergers are potentially vulnerable to scrutiny since many regimes now capture investment in companies 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
The regulatory matrix spans antitrust and foreign investment, data governance, cyber resilience and the emerging digital regulatory frameworks, including with respect to online content and ESG issues as they impact fintech, including scaling fintechs, Big Techs moving into fintech/payments, challenger/digital-only banks and world-leading financial institutions.
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
Antitrust and data protection
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 antitrust and data protection tools against major tech companies, digital services taxes and regulation of online content. Clients turn to us to help them navigate the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape around the world to build and defend successful businesses. Find out more about our Antitrust, Data, Operational Resilience, Online Harms and Cyber Security expertise.
Data and cyber in financial services
You can look to us to 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.
Culture, D&I and ESG
The current climate presents unprecedented challenges for organisations from an employment and culture perspective and the fintech sector is no exception.
Clients turn to Linklaters 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 and climate change compliance and whistle-blowing.
As a firm, our vision is to be known as ‘best in class’ for diversity, equality and inclusion in the legal sector. It’s not just a box-ticking exercise for us, but a strategic and ethical understanding that we cannot be the leaders we aspire to be without the best talent in the world. Read more about diversity and inclusion at Linklaters. 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 to support regulatory investigations when they occur and any resulting litigation.
When things go wrong, our global disputes team manage complex tech disputes of all kinds, including the developing world of crypto litigation. Find out more about our Litigation, Arbitration & Investigations expertise.